19th Economic Forum (2009)
KRYNICA-ZDROJ, POLAND 9 - 12 September 2009
President of the European Commission
Jose Manuel Barroso
Message to the Forum participants
Chairman of the Forum Programme Council
This year's 19th Economic Forum, its momentum, diversity and, first of all, a record breaking number of guests confirm clearly that our formula of the meeting has been very successful. Talks about relations between old and new Europe still attract increasing numbers of participants and listeners. More and more persons want to discuss, how to be faster and more effective in building free market economy, how to overcome economic difficulties and avoid mistakes at building a modern state of law. I think that also this year we succeeded in providing in Krynica the presence of the representatives of many circles: business people, politicians, people of culture and science, all those, who influence opinions in Europe.
The scope of the Forum on the one hand results from our plans and well thought-out decisions and, on the other hand, it is to some extent forced by a continuously growing interest. As every year, we are approached by more and more companies and institutions, who want to be present during the Forum, for whom Krynica's audience is the best place to present one's offer, establish necessary contacts, discuss and take care of matters, which sometimes wait for months in offices. Therefore the Forum, which ended a few weeks ago, abounded with many very important and interesting talks, because talks constitute the main content of the meeting in Krynica. Hence, we recorded the unprecedented number of more than 2 thousand guests and nearly 150 discussion panels, plenary sessions and special events. Adding a very rich programme of cultural events on the top of that, we can understand why Krynica was teeming with life until the last moments of the Forum.
Equally well we can assess the events taking place in parallel with the Economic Forum, it is: the Investment Forum in Tarnow, the Forum of Regions in Muszyna and the Economic Forum of Young Leaders in Nowy Sacz. All these conferences recorded a growth in the number of participants and broadened the discussed topics. It is also worth mentioning that this year, for the first time, the awards for the investment and the investor of the year were handed out in Tarnow. So they have already become independent events, which are expected to confirm their potential and aspirations even more firmly next year.
The scope of the XIX Economic Forum was also a great challenge for the organizers and I think that we succeeded in this task. However, it does not mean that there are no points that need improvement. Yet, this is a feature of all such big conferences. Looking at Krynica in the time of recent years, one has to notice the progress achieved by this town in improving conditions for Forum guests. It is certainly one of the best spas in Poland as compared to others. Obviously it takes some time to arrive there, but in my opinion the atmosphere of the discussion and the rank of invited guests compensate sufficiently for these difficulties.
XIX Economic Forum in Krynica
9 – 12 September 2009
Between 9th and 12th September XIX Economic Forum took place in Krynica. It was the biggest Forum in its 17-year history. According to the organizers, the idea of the meeting, which turned out to be enormously successful, proves that multilateral discussions among the representatives of the world of politics, economy, culture and science are an indispensable element in social development. Opinions are created and the most crucial decisions taken under the influence of not only politicians, ministers or owners of companies, but also intellectuals, artists, scientists, journalists, etc. The continuing development of the Forum, the increasing numbers of guests and events held during the Forum provide the best answers to the question about measurable effects of the meetings organized so far.
The following opinion about the Forum was expressed in an interview of Onet.pl with Zygmunt Berdychowski, the Chairman of the Programme Council of the Economic Forum:
„… these days abounded certainly with many important and interesting talks, since talks are in the first place the main content of the meetings in Krynica… Obviously the most important guest was the Head of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek. An equally important person was surely the Prime Minister of Spain Jose Maria Aznar. Other, very interesting, important and outstanding persons are today’s guests in the Economic Forum Edmund Phelps and Günter Verheugen. To put it in a nutshell, we had many guests, whom we regard as interesting, important … Today Krynica is the best example that the changes, experienced by us in recent years, have been almost revolutionary. Many new hotels were opened, a large number of new infrastructural investments appeared. It has become simply a different world. This world would not have been present, if we had not triggered off transformations jointly after 89 …”
XIX Economic Forum in numbers
- approximately 2000 participants, including more than 1100 foreign guests
- 5 plenary sessions
- more than 140 discussion panels and special events
- more than 900 panellists
- nearly 400 journalists from more than 150 media titles
- a comprehensive programme of cultural events – more than 30 concerts, meetings with authors, exhibitions, film presentations
Guests about the XIX Economic Forum
Jerzy Buzek, the Chairman of the European Parliament.
This forum has always been important, and now it has become even more significant, because we want to overcome the crisis as soon as possible. And here entrepreneurs, local self-government activists, politicians discuss specifically, how to lead the economy out of the crisis. A few years ago we discussed, how to achieve the economic growth at the level of 5-6 percent and we were successful. That is why I am convinced that thanks to this forum economic recovery will be possible even faster.
A short account of 3-day Economic Forum in Krynica was given by Leopold Unger, a publicist of 'Le Soir' and 'Gazeta Wyborcza’ in an interview with Konrad Niklewicz, a journalist of 'Gazeta Wyborcza' and service wyborcza.biz:
„The Friday morning debate between very high ranking economists proved that Krynica is an excellent place for forming very fundamental questions. They were addressed mainly by American economists taking the floor, plus two very pragmatic European voices, which corrected substantially the theoretical, American economic principles and inspired a major question, which came to me: …Is economics a science at all? … completely nothing was consistent comparing Phelps with another known American economist. Two divergent points of view, as regards such fundamental issues as: the role of the United States, possibility to overcome the crisis, the US dollar’s role… etc. Regardless conclusions, since everyone can draw them individually, depending on the point of view, the quality of discussion was undoubtedly very high.“
• Foundation Institute for Eastern Studies
• Economic Forum Programme Council
• Partners of the Economic Forum
Awards of the Economic Forum will be distributed in the following categories:
• Man of the Year 2008 of Central and Eastern Europe
• Company of the Year 2008 of Central and Eastern Europe
• New Culture of New Europe 2008
Guests of the Forum:
• 1500 invitees from Europe, Asia, USA and Middle East countries
Technical support of the Economic Forum:
In order to meet the needs of the Economic Forum guests, the computer system will be improved. It will allow access to information on the programme and guests of the Economic Forum before the beginning of the Conference. During the Economic Forum, the system will enable guest to establish contacts and will inform on the latest activities.
Weimar Triangle. Is common Eastern policy possible?
The Weimar Triangle was established in 1991 by the ministers of foreign affairs of France, Germany and Poland in order to promote regional cooperation in Europe. This organization proved to be an important mechanism used to promote European aspirations of Poland and debate on the EU enlargement. Yet, the old form of the organization has proved currently to be ineffective and it has no longer served such important function as in the 1990's and directly before the EU enlargement in 2004. One of the most important issues on the current political agenda in Europe is the policy towards neighbors. It has been developing in a few directions, and the most of important of them are: the Eastern Partnership and the Union for the Mediterranean. Each country participating in the Triangle has different preferences as regards the neighborhood policy. As long the Mediterranean policy is crucial for France, interests of Poland and Germany are focused on Eastern Europe. The European Neighborhood Policy and it latest embodiment – the Eastern Partnership are addressed to the countries of the former Soviet Union and assume promotion of European values in these countries and gradual economic integration of the region, however, without setting any dates of prospective membership in the EU structures. The Eastern Partnership has extended its area of interest to Belarus and opened opportunities to carry out individual programmes also with Russian involvement. Yet, it has turned out that all these programmes are insufficient and not bold enough to translate in reality into the shape of the European policy in the region. The participants in a debate, held during the Economic Forum, attempted to determine the main parameters for a common Eastern policy. However, to make it possible, cooperation on the line Warsaw-Berlin-Paris must be necessarily restored and priorities of the European Eastern policy need to be discussed together.
The debate was attended by: Prof. Gert Weisskirchen, Foreign Policy Spokesman of SPD in German Bundestag; Prof. Friedbert Pflüger, former Deputy Minister of Defense of Germany and currently a Member of the Board of CDU; Francis Barry Delonghamps – Ambassador of France in Poland; Józef Oleksy, former Prime Minister and Marshall of the Polish Parliament; Volodymyr Połochało, Chairman of the Education Committee in the Supreme Council of Ukraine and Marek Ziółkowski from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The debate was organized and moderated by Prof. Klaus-Heinrich Standke, Chairman of the Committee for Support of German-French-Polish Cooperation. Gert Weisskirchen stated, among other things, that the Eastern policy of the EU must be more open and promote firmly European values, which transform social awareness in neighborhood countries. Friedbert Pflüger strongly opted for a clear definition of the common Eastern policy, which would support the countries aspiring for membership in the EU. Volodymyr Połochało emphasized that towards such countries as Ukraine, which has continuously struggled with a crisis among the political elites, it is necessary to support civil society institutions, which must have clear support in the civil societies of the Union. The point is not that the politicians need signs and signals, but rather that the citizens expect to be noticed as subjects of policy and invited to cooperation.
Fuels Sector in Times of Crisis: Major Challenges and Opportunities
The current economic slowdown forced fuel and gas companies to look for savings. A worse financial situation of concerns caused that governments must protect them against hostile takeovers. Such conclusions were drawn from the discussion on the effects of the global crisis held by the management of Hungarian concern MOL and the biggest Polish energy sector companies. All participants in the panel „Fuel sector in crisis time, the biggest challenges and chances" admitted that they had to reduce investment spending, still proceeding with the most important projects, and sharpen budget policy, but in the same time the crisis highlighted certain issues, which had been hard to notice earlier.
- Crisis has also its good points- convinced Zsolt Hernadi, the President of the Hungarian company. – Earlier few people in our country paid attention to the issue of energy security, because it seemed that problems were unlikely to occur in this area. And in the meantime it turned out that even very good results of our company did not prevent it from an attempt of a hostile takeover.
For a few months the management of MOL together with the government in Budapest have tried to defend the concern against Russian influence, because a few months earlier a Russian company Surgutnieftiegaz became unexpectedly the owner of approx. 20 percent of shares in MOL. For the Polish authorities it was a signal that it became necessary to protect the biggest national fuel producer – PKN Orlen against similar actions and to strengthen Lotos Group.
- For the state, as the owner, the most important thing is the financial security of these companies and their ownership structure – explained Deputy Minister of Treasury Mikołaj Budzanowski during the panel discussion. – That is why we decided to introduce changes to the articles of association of Orlen and pump capital into Lotos by introducing to this company the rest of shares in a mining company Petrobaltic.
Integration can wait
The government plans to wait until the end of Orlen's restructuring and realization of an investment program in Lotos and only then – according to Deputy Treasury Minister – it will be possible to analyze the potential integration of these companies. According to Jacek Socha, a former head of Treasury Ministry, the government will soon have to make key decisions for the fuel sector in Poland in order to facilitate its entry into the next stage of development. Similarly to the decision, which were made a few years ago, to resign from privatization of Gdansk Refinery and create Lotos group on its basis.
- A hostile takeover of PKN Orlen would seem to be less likely once Lotos group becomes stronger – suggested Jacek Socha. – Because in that time the state would act to strengthen Lotos.
Orlen far from MOL
The topic of possible cooperation among fuel companies in our region returns when the topic of hostile takeovers appears in the discussion. Especially that a plan to integrate MOL with PKN was prepared five years ago. Yet, the president of MOL admitted during the discussion panel that a close integration of companies in Central and Eastern Europe is unlikely, because individual states want to maintain control of their enterprises, in the same time ensuring the security of raw materials supply.
Zsolt Hernadi pointed also to the necessity of a closer and more effective political cooperation within the scope of gas supply. In his view, it is unacceptable that one country can decide about the whole region.
European solidarity and energy security
Already today one should seek for effective solutions as regards energy security, which is a global issue with great extent and pivotal importance not just from the perspective of companies, but whole states or regions and changeable and more and more difficult to predict market of oil and other raw materials. It is important for the energy security of Europe, which is a considerable oil importer, to lead to stability and predictability of prices of this raw material. The history of the recent twelve months proved that rapid changes in oil prices increase tensions and risks in the economy. The participants in a discussion panel "European solidarity and energy security" discussed, how to avoid such situation.
During the discussion, Paweł Olechnowicz – the President of Lotos Group emphasized that it is necessary to build a European energy security system. In his opinion, it is possible provided that it is based on a system of partnership equilibrium. According to Janusz Lewandowski, the Vice-president of the Committee on Budget in the European Parliament, it requires a reference to the provisions of the treaty of the European Coal and Steel Community, which, bearing in mind their substance and strictness, protected Western Europe for years. However, as he remarked, energy solidarity in the community is not always convergent with the interest of individual companies and it can impede actions in this regard. The Deputy Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak paid attention to long-term process of building the international community: Europe started from the European Coal and Steel Community, later it had common agricultural policy and the same trade rules in the common market. To recapitulate his speech, the Deputy Prime Minister Pawlak said that Poland has a unique opportunity to propose its European partners cooperation in negotiations on deliveries and transit security. In his opinion, it is an element of building a regional system of support and responsibility.
During the discussion it was confirmed that today we must build energy security into the European solidarity, which poses a great challenge for politics and economy. Poland can play a special role. It is located at the junction of strategic interests, it has a developed petrochemical sector, it can offer huge oil warehouses. We have a coherent energy policy of the state, which cooperates with businesses. We can jointly create a model for durable European security.
Partnership of the European Countries in Building Regional Energy Security
Poland produces too much energy from coal
The heads of the biggest regional fuel and energetic concerns declare that they want to cooperate to improve the energetic safety of the region. However, this will not be easy
The President of the Management Board of PKN Orlen, Jacek Krawiec ensured in Krynica yesterday that his company was secure in terms of the supply of the crude oil, even if it turned out that the presently main supply channel, i. e. the Friendship pipeline (from Russia, via Belarus to Poland and Germany) would provide less oil. The reason is that Orlen is able to deliver crude oil to its biggest refinery in Płock on ships from Gdańsk. Lotos Group the main plant of which operates in Gdańsk is in a similar situation.
The Polish companies had ambitious plans to invest in the crude oil and gas extraction, but for the reason of the crisis, as Mr Krawiec admitted, they had to limit the plans. – This means also reduction of the manufacturing volume – he said.– Poland is one of the safest countries in Europe in terms of energy, as the energy dependency ratio is only 18% in our country whereas in the EU countries – 50%. We are at a very strong input position. And our problem is that the basic energy source is coal – convinced the vice prime minister and minister of economy, Waldemar Pawlak.
The vice president of the management board of the Czech energetic concern CEZ, Tomas Pleskas is of the opinion that the good strategy ensuring the energetic safety of the region is the development of the nuclear power plants. – The Czech government strategy assumes this for the next 15-20 years – said Pleskas.
As Zsolt Hernadi, the president of the Hungarian MOL group said, it is necessary to construct the new lines to supply the energetic raw materials from the south to the north. – We cannot talk about the free market having only one supplier – convinced the president of MOL.
Source: Agnieszka Łakoma , Tatiana Serwetnyk „Rzeczpospolita”