Business heart of Europe beats in Katowice for the 4th time

“Welcome to Polish Davos” – Zygmunt Łukaszczyk, Silesian Voivode, said during an opening of the 4th European Economic Congress (EEC) in Katowice in the Monday morning. Numerous debates, meetings and accompanying events gathering about 6 000 guests from around the globe will last until Wednesday.

4th European Economic Congress, L to R: Jerzy Buzek, former President of the European Parliament; Barbara Kudrycka, Minister of Science and Higher Education; Janusz Lewandowski, European Commissioner responsible for the budget
4th European Economic Congress, L to R: Jerzy Buzek, former President of the European Parliament; Barbara Kudrycka, Minister of Science and Higher Education; Janusz Lewandowski, European Commissioner responsible for the budget

The biggest business event in Central and Eastern Europe was opened by Bronisław Komorowski, President of Poland. The opening speaches were also given by Jerzy Buzek – former President of the European Parliament, Janusz Lewandowski – European Commissioner responsible for the budget, Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister – Waldemar Pawlak and Barbara Kudrycka – Minister of Science and Higher Education.

Chosen quatations* of the inauguration ceremony’s speakers:

Bronisław Komorowski: “Europe has no time for mistakes or living in illusion; without economic growth it will decline. There is enough wealth in Europe for years to come, but the fact remains that the world will have new growth poles (…). Meantime, it is unfortunate that the agenda of Europe’s growth consists only of slogans instead of detailed solutions, and I very much hope that the European Economic Congress will find those. The improvement of the competitiveness of the Polish and European economy is the way to prosperity and a condition of the success of the entire European project. Europe must maintain its competitiveness, while preserving its openness towards the world economy. Economic competitiveness is also the foundation of a robust state, strong with the strength of its citizens.

Waldemar Pawlak: “The Euro zone was a dream of a uniform, risk-free region but today it is time to consider if it would not be better to return to an accounting currency based on a basket of European national currencies. This concept is grounded in the palette of world finance. Poland’s success is to a certain extent a result of the fact that our currency has absorbed the impact of the crisis. The weak zloty meant that our goods were exported and jobs stayed in the country.

Janusz Lewandowski: “Today, countries are beginning to take their positions. Let’s hope that the negotiations on the future will begin in May. For the past 50 years the EU has grown but 2013 will be a turning point. In 2013, the number of European bureaucrats will be gradually reduced. Today, we also have a new type of justification for European spending; this is investment expenditure and the European budget per se is very much investment-oriented. One must not look for Europe’s incentive for development by increasing its debt, and wherever there is no talk of debt, the resources must be invested. In Poland 52% of non-private investments are co-financed from the EU budget. Without this EU assistance our investment landscape would practically stand still. Poland deserves to be branded as a country which intends to develop, build and renovate itself.

Barbara Kudrycka: “We are living through a period of a huge transformation of Polish science. This is why in 2010 we already reached the EU average for public spending as far as research and development are concerned. For 2011, we may even exceed these figures. We have already contracted to receive 18 billion 600 million zloty from certain programmes for new investments into research and development, including resources to be spent on research laboratories. We are investing, above all, in research in technical sciences, with 7 billion zloty at our disposal. We are spending more money on libraries and high-power computers. We have noted a considerable improvement in the quality of research owing to all these measures (…). During our presidency, we have worked out how to take advantage of various sources of financing through similar procedures. Such similarities in using various sources of support will enable us to use the resources available to us in a more efficient way. Creating a culture of innovative entrepreneurship through an improved cooperation of academic centers with business is also very important to us.

Jerzy Buzek: “Today, we are trying to answer the question of how to overcome the most serious difficulties that Europe is confronted with in the time of crisis. This year’s Congress is facing a great task: we need to ask ourselves how and in what way we can translate Poland’s success of the past 20 years – its development and economic reforms – into a larger picture? How can we counteract Europe’s problems? How should the EU budget for 2012-2020 be constructed and introduced?”

The European Economic Congress is considered to be a forum for one of the most representative debates about the future of Europe; the theses presented by some of the most distinguished guests to the Congress are frequently quoted and widely discussed.

Since the first edition in 2009, the organizer of the EEC is PTWP SA, a publisher of “Miesięcznik Gospodarczy Nowy Przemysł” (New Industry Economic Monthly) and the wnp.pl internet portal.

* The quatiations were prepared by the press office of EEC.