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The 5th European Economic Congress - a summary of the first day

wnp.pl - 13-05-2013
A summit of the Ministers of Economy of the Visegrad Group was held at the European Economic Congress.
Discussion on the future of the European Economy and Eurozone, opportunities for cooperation between the EU states and Africa, and energy policy - these were the themes that dominated the first day of the European Economic Congress - EEC. It is for the fifth time that this largest economic event of Central Europe, held in Katowice, has gathered representatives of the political, business, academic and economic elites.
The issues tackled during the three days of the Congress (13-15 May 2013), which will be filled with almost a hundred topical sessions and many accompanying events, include some of the most important matters relating to the Polish, European and global economies. The debates, taking place in eleven locations in the capital of Upper Silesia, provide an opportunity for dialogue and the presentation of the juxtaposed visions of European politicians and representatives of business and academic circles.



“The requirement of a thoughtful dialogue between politics and society, employers and employees is crucial from the point of view of building the authority of the state, the credibility of the national and business brand, and also of our openness” – emphasised Janusz Piechociński, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Economy of the Republic of Poland, at the opening session of the European Economic Congress.



Also other ministers of the extended Visegrad Group countries (V4) spoke during the inauguration ceremony: Martin Kuba, Minister of Industry and Commerce of the Czech Republic, Tomáš Malatinský, Minister of the Economy of the Republic of Slovakia, Mihaly Varga, Hungarian Minister of National Economy and Varujan Vosganian, Romania’s Minister of the Economy. In their speeches they approached the issues of the future of the European economy, cooperation and cohesion and the role of Central Europe in the European Union.



“Europe is facing many challenges. There is a need to achieve a balance between regulations, for example in the sphere of environmental protection, so that the issue of competitiveness is not forgotten (…). This needs to be combined with the issues relating to research and innovation. The key term for Europe is still ’competitiveness’. It is important to increase the competitiveness of the European economy. It is important to create a common industrial policy with other countries. Some of our sectors can become increasingly strong in the international markets. We have to look for new markets in Africa and in South-East Asia. It will be like opening a window and letting the fresh air in.” – argued Varujan Vosganian, Romania’s Minister of the Economy.



The discussion, which was heard also by the representatives of the Silesian Province’s local authorities, was facilitated by Jerzy Buzek, Member of the European Parliament, Chairman of the European Parliament in 2009-2012, Poland’s Prime Minister 1997-2001.



The first topical debate of the Congress was entitled Go global! The World, Europe, Africa. Time for a New Deal. The debate was chaired by Aleksander Kwaśniewski, President of the Republic of Poland in 1995-2005. The prospects for changes in the economic map of the world and the common future of Africa and Europe were discussed by El Hadji Malick Gakou, Minister of Trade, Industry and the Non-formal Sector of Senegal in 2012-2013, Elham Mahmood Ahmed Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union, James L. Jones, retired United States Marine Corps General, former United States National Security Advisor in 2009-2010, Chief Commander of NATO in 2003-2006, Horst Köhler, President of Germany in 2004-2009, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund 2000-2004, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in 1998-2000, Jan Kulczyk, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Kulczyk Investments, Founder of the CEED Institute and Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development.



“We need a broader perspective. We should diversify economically. This does not mean that we shall give up cooperation within the European structures, but that we have to change our approach and leave stereotypical perceptions of Africa behind” said Aleksander Kwaśniewski, President of the Republic of Poland in 1995-2005.



“Africa is a continent with a huge potential for growth. The question is how to convince our investors to get involved in Africa. We can see that the political stability in Africa has been growing. We have reduced the dangers in Mali and problems in Somalia. The situation is getting better”, was the assessment of Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development.



The themes discussed at this session were also continued at the Africa – Central Europe Economic Cooperation Forum, inaugurated on the first day of the Congress, with the participation of ministers of Central European states and representatives of African governments and business circles. Another session of the first day of the European Economic Congress was devoted to the future of the Eurozone. The discussion, facilitated by Roman Młodkowski, Editor-in-Chief of TVN CNBC, was attended by Mikołaj Dowgielewicz, Vice-Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank, Ivan Mikloš, Member of the National Council of the Republic of the Slovak Republic, Deputy Prime Minister, and also Slovakia’s Minister of Finance 2010-2012, Matti Vanhanen, Prime Minister of Finland 2003-2010, Managing Director the Finnish Family Firms Association and Maciej Witucki, President of Orange Polska. The session was attended virtually, in a video speech format, by Janusz Lewandowski, EU Commissioner for Budget and Financial Programming.



“The current crisis in climate and energy policy does not mean the end of it. It will be redefined, made more realistic, more business friendly but also cheaper. It would be worth it if Poland’s presence was felt more clearly at this moment of change” said Marcin Korolec, Poland’s Minister of the Environment, during the afternoon session focused around issues in European energy policy.



The discussion, which included such topics as the assumptions of the common EU energy policy, and key investments and determining factors for industry, was also attended by Jerzy Buzek, Member of the European Parliament, Chairman of the European Parliament 2009-2012, Poland’s Prime Minister 1997-2001, Pavel Cyrani, Member of the Management Board of the ČEZ Group, Surojit Ghosh, Vice-President and Member of the Management Board of ArcelorMittal Poland, CFO of FCE Business Division East, Country Manager, Krzysztof Kilian, President of the Management Board at PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna, Mikael Lemström, President of the Management Board at Fortum Power and Heat Poland, Dariusz Lubera, President of the Management Board, Tauron Polska Energia, Dariusz Mioduski, CEO at Kulczyk Investments, Paweł Olechnowicz, President of the Management Board, CEO of the LOTOS Group and Filip Thon, President of the Management Board RWE Polska, Member of the Management Board RWE East.



“The climate and energy policy adopted in 2009 needs to be thoroughly discussed. In principle, its priorities have not changed, but how we see them today is important. Perhaps its main objectives have to be redefined, in order to ensure energy safety at minimum cost to the economy, maximise its macro-economic advantages and, of course, reduce the impact of power engineering on the natural environment” commented Krzysztof Kilian, President of the Management Board at PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna.



“We think that it is not in the best interests of the European economy to have higher objectives for reducing emissions than those adopted at present”, Surojit Ghosh, Vice-President and Member of the Management Board of ArcelorMittal Poland, CFO of FCE Business Division East, Country Manager.



The first day of EEC 2013 was also marked by a discussion on the opportunities for cooperation between business and culture, which took place at the sessions Sustainable investments – Culture pays! and Is it possible to count on culture? Another event that took place on the same day of this largest business event of Central Europe was the Nationwide Meeting of Health Managers, as did other sessions devoted to medication management and to sources of financing investments into medical facilities.



The panel discussions of the first day of the European Economic Forum 2013 took place in the Krystyna Bochenek Katowice Cultural Centre, the Silesian Voivodeship Office, the Korez Theatre and Novotel Katowice Centrum.
Wydawcą serwisu 2013.eecpoland.eu jest Grupa PTWP SA.