Family-Spirit: EAPC Europe Conference in Vienna inspires participants and speakers

At the end of May, the “EAPC Europe Conference 2022” took place at the Hilton Park Hotel in Vienna. It was the first meeting of the industry after the Covid pandemic and inspired participants as well as speakers and moderators of the individual panels.

EAPC Europe Conference: First Summit after the Pandemic ​

More than 30 speakers, 12 moderators and participants from 26 nations shaped the 2-day conference in Vienna, which was held under the general theme “Political Consulting between pandemic, war and climate crisis”.

Ukraine and the consequences

The conference started with the Ukraine Panel, which was virtually joined by EAPC member Andrii Kruglashov from Kiev. Gerald Knaus inspired the audience with his comprehensive presentation, as did Zhanna Tikhaya with her personal experiences as a refugee from the war zone. The panel was moderated by Christoph Hofinger from Austria.

Christoph Hofinger, Gerald Knaus, Zhanna Tikhaya

Europe in the spotlight​

The second panel was all about Europe. The former Prime Minister of Slovenia, Alojz Peterle, impressed not only with his comprehensive remarks, but also with the European anthem, which he played on his harmonica at the end. Gerda Füricht-Fiegl, Austria, as well as Anthony Grally and Sébastien Couderc, both from France, rounded off this panel, moderated by Thomas Hofer from Austria.

Speaker Alojz Peterle

The crisis and democracy

The morning of the first day of the conference, moderated by Gülfem Saydan Sanver, Turkey, was concluded with the panel “What do pandemic, war and climate crisis do to democracy? Assessment from the perspective of public opinion research”. Christoph Hofinger, Austria, Torbjörn Sjöström, Sweden, and Brent Buchanan, USA, spoke on this topic.

Gülfem Saydan Sanver, Brent Buchanan, Christoph Hofinger, Torbjörn Sjöström 

Election Observation: EAPC and ODIHR​​

The afternoon was opened by the head of the ODIHR of the OSCE, Meaghan Fitzgerald, who had come from Warsaw especially for the occasion. In her presentation she explained in detail the tasks of election observation. In the future, there should be a closer cooperation with the EAPC. Eva Zeglovits from Austria accompanied the panel.

Speaker Meaghan Fitzgerald

Election analyses from Hungary, Serbia, Portugal and France​

The first day of the conference concluded with analyses of the most important elections of spring 2022, starting with Attila Mesterházy from Hungary, moderated by Necati Özkan, Turkey, followed by Milica Katić, Serbia, Arnaldo Costeira, Portugal and Anthony Grally, France, moderated by Justine Cassar Gaspar, Malta.

Necati Özkan, Attila Mesterházy and Sepp Hartinger after the panel 
Justine Cassar GasparMilica Katić, Arnaldo Costeira, Anthony Grally

The future of political consulting in the focus of the second day of the conference​

The second day focused on future issues facing the industry. The panel “Future trends in political consulting” moderated by Gülfem Saydan Sanver, Turkey, kicked off with Gary Nordlinger, USA, Matt Klink, USA, Necati Özkan, Turkey and Igor Mintusov, Russia.

The second panel of the day was “The role of women in political consulting” and was as impressive in content as it was in overall panel strength. With Gülfem Saydan Sanver, Turkey, Ekaterina Egorova, Russia, Zhanna Tikhaya, Ukraine, Ana Fernandes, Portugal, Justine Cassar Gaspar, Malta and moderator Susanne Hartinger, Austria, there was a high caliber panel.

Gary Nordlinger, Gülfem Saydan Sanver, Necati Özkan, Matt Klink
S. Hartinger, G. S. Sanver, A. Fernandes, Z. Tikhaya, E. Egorova

The morning concluded with the panel “Political Consulting – Next Generation” where, under the moderation of Gerda Füricht-Fiegl, Tereza Vahančíková, Slovakia, Zurab Samadalashvili, Georgia, and Fiorda Llukmani, Albania, inspired with their remarks. .

Gerda Füricht-Fiegl, Fiorda Llukmani, Zurab Samadalashvili, Tereza Vahančíková  

Conference conclusion with preview​​

The afternoon of the second day was devoted to the upcoming elections. The first panel was “U.S. Midterm Elections” with Gary Nordlinger and Matt Klink, both USA, moderated by Faye Diamond, also USA.

This was followed by a look ahead to the elections in Sweden in the fall of 2022, analyzed by Torbjörn Sjöström, Sweden, and the parliamentary elections in Turkey planned for 2023, with Necati Özkan, Turkey, under the moderation of Mehmet Ural, Turkey.

Susanne Hartinger from Austria guided through the program on both days.

Faye Diamond, Matt Klink, Gary Nordlinger
Torbjörn Sjöström, Mehmet Ural, Necati Özkan

Best networking at the social events​​

The conference was also rounded out with exciting side events. On the first day there was a guided bus tour of Vienna, which ended with dinner at the Pfarrwirt in Grinzing. On the second day, there were guided tours on foot through the city center to the provisional parliament, where there was a superbly organized guided tour led by Jan Krainer, a member of the National Council. Finally, the absolute highlight was the gala dinner at the Hilton, where the promise prevailed among all present: We will all see each other again at the EAPC Conference 2023 in Izmir/Turkey. A big thank you to the team of Hartinger Consulting, with Sepp, Susanne and Ulrike Hartinger, who organized this conference, as well as to the conference partners 2k, Cygnal, Ecanvasser and Vienna Convention Bureau, who supported the conference with their donations.
Gala Dinner at the Hilton Hotel