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23rd International WDR Europaforum 2021


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.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

this invitation comes to you during a particularly difficult time. Europe – member states individually and their union – has many problems and is under enormous pressure. In the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Europe is challenged more forcefully than ever before on a political, financial and social level.

Has the EU been, and will it be in the future, capable of coming together with sufficient solidarity to fight against COVID-19 and its aftermath? This is one of the central questions we will address at the 23rd WDR Europaforum – but hardly the only question. The pandemic did not wait in the wings until all other problems were solved. The climate crisis is escalating, the gap between the rich and the poor is growing, the EU continues to fight about how best to deal with refugees, the consensus on democracy and the rule of law is crumbling, Europe must handle repercussions caused by Brexit. There is a systemic rivalry with China and Russia to deal with, and, despite relief over the US election results, work needs to be done rebuilding and solidifying the transatlantic relationship. 

Given the circumstances, upholding the European idea is an incredible challenge. And more European autonomy is more important than ever. That is why the motto of the 23rd WDR Europaforum is: 

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

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event, featuring top representatives from German and European politics, will take place virtually. We cordially invite you to join us!