In his speech, Selenskyj referred right at the beginning to the halting grain deliveries. Russia has blocked the Black Sea, taking millions of people hostage in Africa and Asia. But: “You in Europe are also hostages”, because if nothing is done to counteract the impending famine, there will be a migration movement that will also reach Austria.
But famine is not the only threat posed by Russia. Europe and the rest of the world would also have to defend themselves against cyber attacks and propaganda and free themselves from dependence on Russian energy sources: “The Ukrainian game changing is that we give you the chance to do what should have been done a long time ago.”
Thanks to Austria
When asked, the Czech head of state defended his country’s demands for modern arms deliveries: “Russia does not want to engage in dialogue and only understands the language of arms. We only use these weapons on the territory that Russia wants to occupy,” he said. And further: “I suggested to Putin (Vladmir, Russian President, note) that we solve the whole thing at the negotiating table like civilized people, but instead of talking to us, he sent rockets. Til today.”
Panels from the 4Gamechangers Festival can be viewed in the tvthek.
Russia should be held accountable for the crimes. “I would ask you to redouble your commitment to the EU’s seventh package of sanctions,” said Zelenskyj, at the same time thanking Austria for its support. “I would also like to explain myself to those who understand who is to blame for this war,” said Zelenskyy.
He also addressed the Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, who was present in Vienna’s Marx Halle, and Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP). But despite all the adversities, the war in Ukraine has led to strengthening the unity of the EU: “This war has united us. After the victory of good over evil, it is important that Europe remains united.” And: Then Ukraine should also be a state with equal rights in the European family, according to Zelenskyj.
Support from Van der Bellen and Nehammer
Selenskyj received support from both the Federal Chancellor and the Federal President. “We in Austria know that it is not only the freedom of Ukraine that is being defended here. It’s our freedom as well,” said Van der Bellen. Not helping the country would be “failure to provide assistance”. If not militarily, then medically, says Van der Bellen. In addition, diplomacy is still important for a neutral country like Austria. In general, what Putin is doing here is “not a normal war” but is reminiscent of the colonial wars of the 19th century.
“Russia does not want to engage in dialogue”
For Nehammer, Selenskyj’s appearance shows “that he is a president who fights with passion for his homeland”. That is important, after all it is a matter of human lives. Nehammer praised the solidarity of the Austrian population with the Ukrainian refugees. But you have to be careful with the sanctions – they shouldn’t work in the wrong direction. Finally, Nehammer was also optimistic. Dealing with crises that have arisen has shown that these can also be overcome. “We stick together and come out stronger than we went in,” said Nehammer.
Clooney: Must find way to survive
Before that, Hollywood star Clooney entered the stage in the early evening to jubilation and thunderous applause for his “Fireside Chat” about human rights, which was very apt given the high interior temperatures. The 61-year-old said in reference to the Russian invasion of Ukraine that humanity is currently in “difficult times”.
It is important to hold those responsible accountable. “But if the house is on fire, the fire must first be extinguished” – only then can the judiciary intervene. In addition, those companies and banks that do business with the “bad guys” should also be sanctioned, Clooney appealed.
This is where the Clooney Foundation would come in, which he launched in 2016 together with his wife and lawyer Amal.
Clooney did not skimp on criticism when it came to the USA either – the four years of Donald Trump were disastrous. Asked about the storming of the Capitol on January 6 of last year, Clooney said the US presidential election was “fucking not stolen”. Nevertheless, it is not public that Trump will be re-elected. And that is “dangerous”.
In conclusion, he said: In order to solve the major social problems, not least the climate crisis, cooperation is required – worldwide. “We are all connected. We have to find a way to survive,” said Clooney, who also held the big corporations accountable. This was followed by a minute-long advertisement for Nespresso.
Cupid in Vienna
The crowning musical conclusion in the evening is the performance by the former song contest winner Conchita Wurst, Amore Rock ‘n’ Roll by Wanda and beats by the German reggae and soul musician Jan Delay.
For the first time, the festival was organized in cooperation with Austria’s largest private broadcasting group ProSiebenSat.1Puls4 and the ORF. The range of topics over the three days was also broad – from the Ukraine war to digitization and innovation, education and health to climate and energy.
On the third day of the festival, the big questions of contemporary society were published: what does the future of work look like? What role does capitalism play in the fight against the climate crisis? How can human rights be secured in times like these? What does collaboration mean? In Europe as well as in space? The interest in answers was great, the rows were already filled to the last seat in the morning.
Kick off with a Nobel Peace Prize winner
The Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams kicked things off on Thursday. In the midst of the Russian war of aggression, she focused on the fate of Ukrainian women and spoke of her visit to Ukraine a few days ago. They praised the courage of Ukrainian women who would not give up despite the adverse conditions. The Nobel Prize winner also reported on Ukrainian refugee women in Poland. They told her there: “Please don’t forget us.”
This was followed by a smaller focus on handling data. Brittany Kaiser, co-founder of the OwnYourData Foundation and Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, said in her keynote that data has now become the most valuable commodity in the world. She is convinced that in a perfect world, data could solve many of the biggest problems of our time, such as war and famine.
To do this, however, one would have to be able to handle data securely. The whistleblower pointed out that data law is currently one of the most closely monitored areas of the law.
Labor market: “Biggest transformation in 250 years”
The German philosopher and author Richard David Precht proclaimed the “end of work as we can it” at lunchtime. According to Precht, this is a transformation from a bourgeois wage and performance society to a meaningful society – the biggest transformation in 250 years.
In contrast to other societal crises and changes, however, “optimism is the order of the day”. Because: “What we are experiencing is a technological revolution, the beginning of the second machine age, where the human hand is no longer used, but the human brain.”
Even people with low incomes are now asking themselves what a good and right life is and what kind of work gives life meaning. On the labor market, companies are now required to offer good working conditions.
Climate activist criticizes false promises
After the lunch break, the main topics on the agenda were climate, energy and sustainability. In the discussion with CEOs of mobility and energy companies, the activist and author Katharina Rogenhofer from the climate referendum called for a “genuine commitment to sustainability” – especially in times of energy shortages.
In politics, however, she is currently making “many promises with exceptions”. One example is the EU ruling on the end of combustion engines, which still provides for e-fuels. One thing is clear: the energy transition had to be accelerated, especially with regard to the expansion of renewables such as solar and wind. The potential in Austria is far from exhausted, was the tenor of the speakers.
Gewessler will pace
Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) also called for more speed. The point is to implement climate protection now: “We don’t have the time anymore. It’s about the now, now are the decisive years.” In order to solve the climate crisis, everyone would have to “make their contribution” – including the economy, according to Gewessler.
“Fridays For Future” activist Anika Dafert also sees a need for companies – they could put pressure on politicians and “say we want to invest in a good future”. It should no longer be about maximizing profits.
The activist and filmmaker Werner Boote referred to Noam Chomsky in the climate protection debate and called for a comprehensive system change. Not without a dig at the main sponsor of the event, he asked whether coffee should really be pre-portioned. If you think about it with “common sense”, it can’t make any sense.