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24th International WDR Europaforum 2022


February 24, 2022 shattered the dream of the “European house”, caused a humanitarian catastrophe and put even more considerable strain on the international order. Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine indeed marks a turning point. It forces the European Union to fundamentally reflect on its geopolitical positions and perspectives.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is shaking Europe and has shattered previous notions of the peaceful and prosperous coexistence of peoples on our continent. The key term in the current debates is “turning point”, but the consequences in detail are not even close to being foreseeable yet. The search for perspectives in the face of this fundamentally changed political scenario is the central theme of this year’s WDR Europaforum.

Efforts to establish a stable “House of Europe” after the confrontation of the Cold War have failed for the time being. Valdimir Putin’s war of aggression has taken away the ground from the West’s strategy of ensuring stability through economic interdependence and cooperative political structures. The order of the day is solidarity with Ukraine and its resistance. So far, the European Union has shown remarkable unity. The defence against neo-imperialism and war, the assertion of international law, democracy and the rule of law are, of course, tasks for the long term.

If Moscow is out of the question as a partner for the time being, what should the EU’s relationship with its large neighbour to the east of the continent look like? How strong must it become militarily? What does the new confrontation mean for relations with China? How to deal with the current and future accession candidates? How reliably does the frontline position on the outside provide common ground on the inside? What will become of other pressing issues such as the climate crisis, dealing with refugees, the pandemic? With these questions in mind, the motto of this year’s European Forum is

“What next? Europe in the new geopolitical reality”.

Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Südwestrundfunk, Österreichischer Rundfunk and the ARD/ZDF event and documentary channel phoenix, together with the European Commission and the European Parliament, invite you to the event in virtual format.

We look forward to your participation!


Tom Buhrow

Director Genreal of Westdeutscher Rundfunk

Joachim Knuth

Director General of Norddeutscher Rundfunk

Kai Gniffke

Director General of Südwestrundfunk

Roland Weißmann

Director General of Österreichischer Rundfunk