Europa-Forum Wachau has started

Takes place for the 27th time

The Europa-Forum Wachau is taking place for the 27th time from today, Thursday, to Saturday - this year under the general theme of "Building a Resilient, Green and Competitive Europe".

"Precisely because the EU is so important to us, it is also important to us that the EU develops in the right direction," emphasised Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner in the run-up to this year's event. We do not need "a European Union of commandments and prohibitions, but a Union of peace, freedom and competitiveness", said the Governor. Mikl-Leitner emphasised that she wanted to promote this at the Wachau European Forum and also at European level. The aim was an "alliance of the sensible" and "a Europe that tackles the major challenges with common sense and takes care of the concerns of its citizens."

Today's first day of the European Forum focussed on the topics of healthcare and telemedicine in the morning and the major topic of hydrogen and its potential applications in the afternoon.

The 27th Europe Forum was opened by President Martin Eichtinger in the presence of the Serbian Minister of Justice, Maja Popović. In his speech, he focussed on the cooperation between the European countries. "The Wachau European Forum is a focal point of European and international discourse. It proves time and time again how much impetus comes from European regions like Lower Austria," said Martin Eichtinger. President Eichtinger also emphasised the importance of the EU. "The diversity of the EU gives us the strength and creativity we need to overcome existential crises. Lower Austria has always seen itself as the heartland of the EU and is committed to Europe and the world. This is what the Europa-Forum Wachau stands for," said Eichtinger.

In her speech, Maja Popović mentioned that "a modern judiciary is the basis for economic investment and legal framework conditions to drive integration into the EU".

In a video message from the Vice-President of the European Commission, Margarethe Vestager, she addressed the topics of "Building a resilient, green and competitive Europe" and "the next steps in digital regulation, particularly in the area of telemedicine and smart mobility".

In another item on the programme, Chamber of Commerce President Harald Mahrer pointed out that innovation is not possible without appropriate education, science and research. "We need all of this as a basis for economic competitiveness, which is why a joint approach with the economy is necessary in order to find innovative solutions," said Harald Mahrer, President of the Chamber of Commerce.

Another highlight of the morning was the programme item "Invest in Health". This year, the focus was on the topic of telemedicine, its possible applications and, in general, the financing of a modern healthcare system.

The Deputy Director General of the Austrian Health Insurance Fund, Rainer Thomas, focussed in particular on telemedicine. "The Austrian Health Insurance Fund is working together with its partners to transform the healthcare system in line with the principle of digital before outpatient before inpatient in order to continue to ensure an attractive and comprehensive range of services," said Rainer Thomas.

The Vice Rector of UMIT TIROL, Bernhard Tilg, spoke about the importance of health for well-being. "Health and the healthcare system also play a major role in the well-being and quality of life of the population in Europe. Good health enables people to lead a fulfilling life and achieve their own goals. Education plays an important role in promoting the development of healthcare in Europe. Universities of Applied Sciences offer specialised training in different areas of healthcare, helping to ensure that qualified healthcare professionals are available to meet the needs of the population and improve healthcare provision. By promoting education in the healthcare sector, we can ensure that the population of Europe has access to high-quality healthcare," said Bernhard Tilg.

"There were exciting discussions in the morning on the topics of health, education and the economy. We were able to see the direction Europe will take in the future," concluded Martin Eichtinger, President of the Europa-Forum Wachau.

Today's programme also includes discussion forums on the topic of mobility and the "Economic Salon". Tomorrow, the Europa Forum Wachau will continue with the opening speeches by Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner and the round tables with Federal Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, Federal Science Minister Martin Polaschek and EU and Constitutional Affairs Minister Karoline Edtstadler, before Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria Karl Nehammer and Prime Minister of Italy Giorgia Meloni will be guests on Saturday. The live stream and the entire programme can be found on the Europa Forum Wachau website