Alpbach Forum: “New Europe” is Escaping Forward

The European Forum Alpbach highlighted the limits to European optimism and the gaps left by years of inaction

13 January 2023

Jan Farfał

Marcin Król Fellow

The ambitions in the European Forum Alpbach were plain to see, but so were the limitations to longstanding promises – like the further integration of the Balkans – which have been so delayed they now feel broken. Nevertheless, the focus was on the future for new Europeans, even if that future feels increasingly uncertain.

In August 1945, when Europe lay in ruins and American troops were stationed alongside their Soviet counterparts in Berlin, a group of Austrian freedom fighters decided to run discussions on the fate of Europe. Equipped with American cigarettes and petrol obtained from a US army depot in Innsbruck, they bargained their way through and hosted discussions in peasant cottages in the high Alpine village of Alpbach. 77 years later, the European Forum Alpbach is one of the most important summits where politicians, experts, scholars and businesspeople discuss crucial developments for our continent.

For two weeks, this small mountain resort transforms into an informal capital of Europe – a dazzling place with dark limousines, people dressed in suits and thousands of delegates running in all directions, displaying their conference badges. At night, armed with a Weizenbier in a bar called “Jacober” one can bump into a president, CEO or Nobel Prize laureate.

The Agenda

The forum addressed the most pressing issues over those two weeks – the war in Ukraine, Russian sanctions, the energy crisis, climate change, the Western Balkans, technological sovereignty, social inequality and many more. The theme of this year’s edition was “New Europe”, meaning one that would overcome the consequences of its current weakness and past inaction.


Democratic security comes at a price. What is yours? By subscribing or donating now gain access to analysis, forecasts and scenarios by leading analysts and reporters who monitor democratic risks and develop policy debate from Central Europe on Central Europe.

MonthlyVAT included


See all details

  • Full access to articles and reports
  • Monthly foresights and risk analysis delivered by e-mail
  • Weekly newsletter with most important highlights
  • Visegrad Insight social media community groups invitation

AnnualVAT included


See all details

  • All monthly features PLUS…
  • Free invitation to one editorial board discussion to participate in deciding on the future direction of the Visegrad Insight
  • Free delivery of two select hardcopies of Visegrad Insight reports

Student OR Donation

Choose your contribution

See all details

  • Full access to articles and reports
  • Monthly foresights, weekly newsletters, and risk analysis delivered by e-mail
  • Free invitation to one editorial board discussion to participate in deciding on the future direction of the Visegrad Insight (annual subscription only)

Can I receive an invoice?

Yes. You will receive a receipt immediately after purchase and a VAT invoice upon request. The subscription amount includes tax. In case of a donation, there is no tax.

Are my credit card details safe?

Yes. The payment is processed by STRIPE entrusted also by Amazon, Zoom, and used by other global NGOs and businesses in the world. We do not store your credit card details.

How modify or cancel my subscription?

At any moment you can manage your subscription and account details. Sign in to modify or cancel.

Jan Farfał

Marcin Król Fellow

Marcin Król Fellow 2022/2023 at Visegrad Insight and a Doctoral candidate in Area Studies (Russia and East Europe) at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies. His project examines the ways in which émigré journals addressed their home societies behind the Iron Curtain. He is a Researcher in the project ‘Europe in a Changing World’, led by Professor Timothy Garton Ash and Professor Paul Betts, at the European Studies Center at the University of Oxford.


Weekly updates with our latest articles and the editorial commentary.