Time to Decide Europe Summit, is a one-day conference coorganised by ERSTE Foundation and the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) that will address the dilemmas posed by the war in Europe.

This one-day conference came into being last year in the context of the shock of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

The Time to Decide Europe Summit was an integral part of the thoughts and actions that started to deal with the crisis in political, economic, and social terms.

We continue the conversations and debates this year, with prominent thinkers, and renowned political scientists and economists. Together they will seek to untangle the urgent questions facing us today as well as offering insights on the future of Europe.

What will the coming year bring about? How will Europe’s foreign and defense policy be transformed? Will Europe’s democracies come out weakened or strengthened from the current crisis? What future for the economy and ecology in Europe? Can risks be turned into opportunities, and how?



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Lunch for registered participants

Alexander Schallenberg,
Austrian Federal Minister for European and International Affairs

Frans Timmermans,
Vice-President of the European Commission (by video)

Boris Marte,
CEO of ERSTE Foundation
Ivan Vejvoda,
Permanent Fellow of the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna

Misha Glenny, Rector at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna
Ivana Dragičević, Editor-at-Large at N1 Television


  • Anthony Barnett, Writer, campaigner and co-founder of openDemocracy
  • Milica Delevic, Director for Competitiveness, Governance and Political Affairs at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
  • Kirsten Dunlop, Chief Executive Officer at Climate-KIC
  • Taras Fedirko, Lecturer in Organised Crime and Corruption at the University of Glasgow
  • Gerald Knaus, Chairman of the European Stability Initiative (ESI)
  • Ivan Krastev, Permanent Fellow at the IWM
  • Jan-Werner Müller, Roger Williams Straus Professor of Social Sciences at Princeton University
  • Janka Oertel, Director of the Asia Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations
  • Soli Özel, Senior Lecturer at Istanbul Kadir Has University
  • Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz, Director of the Institute Strategie 2050
  • Kim Lane Scheppele, Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs at Princeton University
  • Mary B. Warlick, Deputy Executive Director International Energy Agency
  • Guntram Wolff, CEO of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)


Russia’s full-scale invasion of a sovereign European country Ukraine has caused a geopolitical earthquake, forcing the European Union to profoundly reassess its overall geopolitical posture and strategy. Today Europe is painfully aware of its security dependence of the United States and the war has also widened the gap between the West and the Rest.

All major questions now stand open: Should the EU decouple from the United States’ geopolitical agenda, as French President Macron advocated after his visit to China? If so, at what cost, and could this decoupling happen without the tearing apart of the Union? Are Europeans ready to pay for their defense? And if not what does strategic autonomy mean?

How Europe chooses to answer will determine the Union’s global standing as we emerge from this crisis. The time to decide is now.

Kick Off Speakers:

Janka Oertel, Director of the Asia Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations

Soli Özel, Senior Lecturer at Istanbul Kadir Has University

Discussion with contributions from the full panel


Democracy is under siege. Authoritarian regimes and tendencies are on the rise. For more than a decade now, European societies have been grappling with events that have consistently challenged the continent. Shaken by the eurozone crisis of 2009, confronted with increasing numbers of refugees in 2015, upended by the Brexit vote, and rattled by Donald Trumps’s election, Europe entered unchartered waters. Some fear the Union has been profoundly destabilised, with these multi-layered crises dividing societies, forming new cleavages.

And then came the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. The first reaction of European societies and politicians to the shock has been unity against the invader. Will the will to prevail over a brutal aggressor be strong enough to carry European societies through the possible years of fighting ahead? How will diverging definitions of “peace” be dealt with? The spike in energy prices, fast-growing inflation, the mistrust among certain constituencies – often times deliberately fueled by external forces – is becoming an important factor in electoral politics. In recent memory Europe has never faced such polarisation. How governable are European democracies today?

Kick Off Speakers

Jan-Werner Müller, Roger Williams Straus Professor of Social Sciences at Princeton University

Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz, Director of the Institute Strategies2050

Discussion with contributions from the full panel


In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the globe faced surging energy prices. Addressing the energy supply challenge, and the need to decouple from its dependence on Russian energy, Europe came together in a decisive way – rapidly responding by securing alternative gas and oil supply, which — together with environmental and behavioural change factors — ensured the largest drop in natural gas demand in European history. At the same time, the EU stuck to its ambitious environmental protection goals – increasing, among others, its greenhouse gas reduction targets. Coal and nuclear have reared their face on the energy map.

Ensuring both environmental protection and economic competitiveness remains a challenge. Public support for the green transition has weakened in some EU member states. Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act risks the flight of production facilities and investments out of Europe. The European single market has been eroded by active state intervention. How far should the control of the market go when a war is raging? And if at all, who should control the market – the EU or each country individually? Can Europe fuel a green and prosperous future?

Kick Off Speakers

Kirsten DunlopChief Executive Officer at Climate-KIC

Guntram Wolff, CEO of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)

Discussion with contributions from the full panel

Time to Decide


A philanthropic initiative for democracy and solidarity in Europe

Florian Bauer

Director Social Finance, Sustainability and Innovation
Since 2023, Florian Bauer has been responsible for social finance, sustainability and social innovation at ERSTE Foundation. Prior to this role, Florian worked in the NGO & Social Entrepreneurship sector for more than 13 years. He led the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), an international multilateral NGO that works to accelerate market-based deployment of renewable energy and energy efficient systems in developing countries, and was Managing Director & COO of the Impact Hub Vienna. From 2020-2023, Florian established strategic alliances with key partners and helped to create innovative semantic technology solutions at Semantic Web Company (SWC), a leading IT company in semantic AI solutions.