September in Bad Gastein


By Agnes Kittel,

Hungarian science journalist

 Some  personal notes about a great conference

Although it is not usual , but definitely I have to start with a big THANK YOU!

I thank EUSJA board helping me to get an extra slot from the organizers of the conference, because  due to some internet trouble,  my application did not arrived in time, and of course, I have to thank the organizers of Gastein Forum for the possibility.

Together with the almost 500 participants I have to add, that the  organizers of EHFG made a great work, did everything for the success of the conference. We had  famous lecturers,  for the breaks beautiful photo and funny/ thought-provoking cartoon exhibiton,  excellent food,  rich social programm besides  the non-negligible effect of the  beautiful natural environment and  unbelievable superb weather.  So we were extremely lucky and pampered here. However, the main topic oft he conference, as the title, DEMOGRAPHICS AND DIVERSITY IN EUROPE: NEW SOLUTION FOR HEALTH indicated it correctly, targeted one of the hardest challenge of our days.


The lectures were  delivered by internationally acknowledged lecturers such as the Nobel Prize winner Professor Paul Krugman, whose excellent talk  gave an insight into the research of  economics of ageing and  taught us about the effect and consequences of lowering birth rates and migration. Besides him, several directors of the European Commission and Ministers of different European countries shared their experience with the audience in closely related subjects and health issues.  Form y surprise, basically the outcome of all talk was positive.  But I could fully agree with MARTIN SEYCHELL /Deputy Director General, DG SANTE, European Commission/ who declared: ‚‚There is a lot of inefficiency. We wait for people to become ill and then treat them. We could free up significant funding if we need to have a more proactive health system.”  And I was not the only one who held with the indication of VYTENIS ANDRIUKAITIS /Commissioner for Health and Food Safety/  “Demographic change is not only the responsibility of health ministers. Ministers of education, employment, transport, environment, urban planning, city mayors – all actors are facing the same issues of demographic change.” /Moreover he was brave enough to mention at the press conference, that several times the best ideas had to fail during negotiations due to different lobbies’ interest in the EU./


Likely because I am pretty far from political cycles, the greatest experience for me was not listening to the lectures of celebrities and politicians, but  to  meet the participants of Young Forum Gastein and the poster presenters. Their hard work among migrants, or people suffering Alzheimer‘, cancer and similar diseases with high burden not only on the patients, but their familes and the whole society, their faith, enthusiasm, new ideas how to help, empathy towards the  suffering people,  as well as the beautiful pictures of refugees exhibited by the photographer Tom Platzer, altogether could convince me, that every person can and have to find his/her part in the common work for the better future of Europe. And, more importantly, that this better future can be possible.

The photo and captoons from

About Viola Egikova

Viola Egikova - science journalist based in Moscow, president of Intellect, former Vice-President of the European Union of Science Journalists' Associations, Programme Coordinator of All Russia Science Festival