BOLD EUROPE: The European Forum Alpbach 2023





This year’s theme BOLD EUROPE allows us to continue last year’s vision of a new Europe. With the multiple crises our continent is still facing, a Bold Europe becomes necessary.

For too long, European prosperity has been based on cheap Russian energy, the huge Chinese market and American security guarantees. In 2023, Europe must accept this new reality and take a bold leap. It must urgently reduce its dependencies while remaining open to the world. Europe needs to massively build renewable energy systems, diversify away from dominating suppliers and vulnerable legacy industries, and take its security into its own hands.

More than that: Europe also needs to become bolder in shaping the world. It must use the current window of opportunity to accelerate the green transition and strengthen its global leadership in the fight against climate change. Europe’s former economic powerhouses must bring their economies back on track and regain their competitiveness by investing more in technology and innovation.

The EU must become more effective in using the size of its single market to set global standards following its interests and values. Defending our democratic values against authoritarian influences also requires boldness. We need to master this complex world by questioning assumptions, running experiments and taking risks.

Bold means having a clear plan together. The willingness to take risks together. The preparedness to act fast and strong together.

A bold Europe is not an option, it is a necessity.

Thematic Tracks

Within the framework of this year’s annual theme the EFA23 will once again focus on four main challenges of our time:

  • Rallying for Climate Action
  • Securing Europe in a Multipolar World
  • Fighting for Europe’s Economic Sovereignty
  • Reinforcing Democracy in Europe

For detailed information about the four main EFA23 challenges please visit: Theme & Tracks | European Forum Alpbach

ERSTE Foundation at Alpbach

ERSTE Foundation is one of the main partner of the European Forum Alpbach. Please join us at one of the public events our team, projects and programmes are hosting:

Friday 25 August

6.30 pm – 7.30 pm
Pitch: Europe – Who is the Future?

In this time of polycrisis, Europe must ask ‘Who are we?’ and ‘Who do we want to be?’. Knowledge and information alone are not enough to improve our actions; we need new practices of collaboration between generations, disciplines, experts and European citizens. Emerging from the “Youth as Key for Democratic Renewal” Lab initiated and funded by ERSTE Foundation, we will hear divergent visions of who will lead tomorrow, assessing how to engage the “Next Generation” in political activity and processes.

Moderator: Louisa Slavkova, Co-founder & Managing partner, The CIVICS Innovation Hub

Speakers: Alberto Alemanno, Jean Monnet Professor of European Union Law, HEC Paris; Ivana Dragicevic, editor-at-large N1 Television; Maria Rodriguez, President European Youth Forum

Saturday 26 August

2.00 pm – 3.30 pm
Geopolitics vs Norms: EU Enlargement as a Clash of Urgencies

The candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova, and the open European perspective for Georgia, have sparked questions around the duration and viability of the process and the need for a visionary yet realistic approach. How to approach enlargement geopolitically and strategically while at the same time secure the democracy consolidation and respect for rule of law in the candidate countries?

Moderator: Vessela Tcherneva, Deputy Director, Head of ECFR Sofia; European Council on Foreign Relations

Speakers: Ioannis Armakolas, Head, South-East Europe Programme, Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy; Carl Bildt, Co-Chair, European Council on Foreign Relations; Arancha González Laya, Dean Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po

8.00 pm – 10.30 pm
Democracy Social

There is reason to celebrate: With the new Democracy Hub, a strategic alliance of democratic forces is being formed in Germany, Austria and Switzerland – for three democracies with more than 100 million citizens. In Alpbach, the organizers of the Hub invite you to get to know each other and exchange ideas: an evening with a lot of spirit of optimism. 

Monday 28 August

6.30 pm – 7.30 pm
Track Forum: Community Talks with Europe’s Futures Fellows and the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS)

The Track Forum is your space to connect to fellow participants and speakers around the four thematic tracks of the EFA. Each corner of Schrödinger Hall hosts one track community. Sit at one of the nine tables, get to know interesting leaders and experts, and have a great conversation about current issues. 

Moderator: Ilana Wetzler, Transformational Guide & Facilitator

Speakers: Etienne Bassot, Director, Members’ Research Service European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS); Lasse Boehm, Head of Unit, Economic Policies European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS); Gregor Erbach, Head of Service, Climate Action and Research Tracking European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS); Leszek Jażdżewski, Editor-in-chief Liberté!; Elena Lazarou, Head of Unit, External Policies European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS)

Europe’s Futures Fellows (table 2): Nikola Dimitrov, Heather Grabbe, Bernd Marin

For schedule and speakers please visit: Programme and Speakers of the European Forum… | European Forum Alpbach

Cover picture: ERSTE Foundation Community Alpbach Meeting 2016. Photo (c) ERSTE Foundation/Thomas Steinlechner

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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.