The Europa-Forum Neumarkt – “Das Europe der 25” convened in Neumarkt, Austria from 15th-17th April, 2005. At the meeting of European federalists in Austria, the focus was on the constitutional crisis of the EU after the referenda in France and the Netherlands, and on an outlook on the EU’s perspectives. By dedicating one out of two days to Asian-Europe relationships, the organisers have taken into account the important role that Asia plays for Europe’s future.
More than a hundred participants from 12 countries attended the forum in Neumarkt. The speakers of the first day made clear that Europe has entered a decisive period where it has to choose whether it is going to be a political or an economic union. The citizens must support this decision and European politicians have to take every possible effort to bring the idea of a united Europe closer to the people again.
On the second and final day of the forum, the relations between Europe and Asia were examined. This subject going beyond the usual introspective view of European federalists was consciously chosen to show that in other regions of the world, European integration is closely followed with great interest. The development of ASEAN shows that the process in the EU serves as an example, which is often perceived more enthusiastically outside than inside Europe.
Speakers on this subject were representatives of the Korean and the Japanese Embassies, Ambassador Kim Byung Ho and Ambassador Ho Miyashita Takayuki, Ambassador Dr. Wolfang Schallenberg, Austria’s Governor to ASEF and Dr. Albrecht Rotacher, former director of ASEF’s Public Affairs department. The tenor of their presentations was that the mutual dependencies and vulnerabilities between Europe and Asia could only be taken into account within cooperation between the regions that includes political, economic, scientific and cultural aspects. Such broad bonds are necessary to ensure economic benefits and stability for all participants and to uphold sustainable peace and security.
The event was closed by Dr. Willibald Pahr, the former Austrian Foreign Minister, who encouraged the participants to be optimistic and to remain engaged, as there is no alternative to the unification of Europe.