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23rd International WDR Europaforum 2021

Emancipation in times of crisis –
Europe’s road to greater autonomy

A difficult present is obscuring our view of a European future. The goals and principles of the European Union require a commitment that is constantly reaffirmed.

The Westdeutsche Rundfunk has been hosting the WDR Europaforum since 1997. At the forum, the heads and ministers of national governments meet with leading representatives from EU institutions, political parties, think tanks or civil society organisations. In light of current developments in each respective year, the forum examines the prospects of the historical European project – which has come a long way, but is far from complete.

European integration is, more than ever before, a task spanning generations. Reporting on this integration in an engaged yet critical manner is part of the job of public service broadcasters. After all, democracy, the rule of law and open-mindedness, the binding principles of life together on our continent, are hardly unshakeable, fixed accomplishments. They must be constantly affirmed and reinforced by civil society. The WDR Europaforum, broadcast on TV, radio and over the internet, contributes to these efforts.   

For over twenty years, the WDR Europaforum has established itself as a renowned platform for reviewing European politics and producing European ideas – not just in Germany. 

Participants have included German, Austrian, Polish and Slovenian heads of state and government, presidents of the European Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament, ministers, commissioners, parliamentarians and prominent scientists and authors.

The European Commission and the European Parliament are WDR Europaforum partners. Media partners include, among others, ARD/Das Erste, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), Südwestrundfunk (SWR), Deutsche Welle (DW), the current affairs and documentary channel phoenix, and Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF). Several TV channels and internet platforms offer a live broadcast of the forum.

The 23rd edition of the WDR Europaforum had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year the forum took place on Thursday, 20 May 2021 as a hybrid conference in Berlin, Cologne an Brussels; some participants were on site and some attended virtually.

WDR Europaforum - Best Of

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The broadcast from May 20, 2021 can be viewed in the ARD media library.

The 23rd WDR Europaforum has been broadcast live on WDR television and shown online via live stream.


The European Project in Challenging Times – Taking Stock and Strategies for Upholding an Ambitious Idea


Europe needs more autonomy – the calls are getting louder, but is autonomy really the ideal path out of these crises?


Chancellor, Candidates, Experts – German politics meets European political expertise at the WDR Europaforum.