Greek president at Alpbach Forum: Climate change is Europe’s top challenge right now

Of all challenges Europe faces right now, climate change is the top one, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said on Tuesday, during her address at the European Forum Alpbach (EFA) 2021 in Austria’s Tyrol region.

Fighting climate change requires “a holistic approach focused on the idea of viable development, and a great reversal of our way of life,” she told the 75-year-old forum of innovative ideas and approaches. It must involve young people, and solidarity, which was recently exemplified by the way EU member states came to help Greece fight the fires, Sakellaropoulou added.

“Europe must fight for the values it represents within and without its borders,” she noted, citing populism and its rejection of fundamental European values. “Our hearts these days are in Afghanistan, particularly its women and girls who are being targeted solely because they want to live and dress freely, to educate themselves, and to work.” Sakellaropoulou urged the European Union and the international community to take action to ensure the lives of Afghanistan’s citizens and its cultural heritage are protected, as they are currently in great danger.

According to its site, EFA is “a platform that drives ideas for an empowered and democratic Europe. It brings together young people, leading scholars, thinkers, scientists, policy makers, business people and civil society actors from Europe and from all over the world to engage and contribute to its mission of shaping a stronger Europe.”

This year’s forum posed three questions: How can we secure Europe’s Future? How can we finance Europe? and, Can the climate crisis be an opportunity to rethink Europe?