20th Economic Forum (2010)
Krynica Zdrój, Poland September 8-11th 2010
The XX Economic Forum has ended in Krynica-Zdroj. This year the mountain spa was visited by 2350 guests from 60 countries of the world, including the President of the Republic of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski and the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso.
This year’s Forum was devoted to chances created by the Lisbon Treaty. On Wednesday, the opening session "Europe after the Lisbon Treaty – strategies for the future", besides Komorowski and Barroso, was attended by the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek and the President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves.
More than 130 discussion panels were organized during the Forum. They were devoted among other things to: macroeconomics, international politics, energy, the global crisis, security, the European Union, the judiciary, the Polish presidency in the European Union and for the first time health care.
The debates were attended, among others, by: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy – Waldemar Pawlak, President of the National Bank of Poland – Marek Belka, former President of Poland – Aleksander Kwasniewski, EU Commissioner for Budget – Janusz Lewandowski, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office – Michal Boni, Chairman of the Economic Council by the Prime Minister of Poland – Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, Minister of Labour – Jolanta Fedak, Minister of Sport and Tourism – Adam Giersz, Minister of State Treasury – Aleksander Grad, Minister of Health – Ewa Kopacz and President of Warsaw Stock Exchange – Ludwik Sobolewski.
On Friday Ministers of Justice of four countries composing the Visegrad Group met for the first time. "It is a real reactivation of the group" – said the Polish Minister of Justice Krzysztof Kwiatkowski. Ministers: Jirzi Pospiszil from the Czech Republic, Lucia Zitnianska from Slovakia, Robert Repassy from Hungary and Minister Kwiatkowski talked about cooperation in the area of application of modern technologies. They also signed a Declaration on cooperation within the scope of enhancing effectiveness of the judiciary.
Also businessmen arrived to Krynica, representing among others key Polish energy companies, such as: PKN Orlen, PGNiG, Lotos and PGE. Present were also businessmen interested in cooperation with Polish companies, among others from the nuclear energy sector representing Areva, GE and Westinghouse Electric Company.
The event was reported by approximately 500 journalists from nearly 20 countries of the world.
The first plenary session – "Europe after the Lisbon Treaty – strategies for the future”
- The financial crisis showed us how much we depend on one another in Europe and the world – said during the opening session of the Forum Jose Manuel Barroso. Barroso emphasized also that the Lisbon Treaty combines many issues in the same time: macroeconomic reforms, opening of the internal market; it has also the external dimension. It means that we need a greater connection between various policies, such as fiscal consolidation and structural reform – he said. He added that Europe needs new growth engines such as the green technologies among other things.
- We are convinced that the European Union will function more effectively and respond to the expectations of citizens, which are high, because we are experiencing a hard time. We try to find out how we can respond to these challenges better within the scope of the Lisbon Treaty – said in turn Jerzy Buzek.
The opening session was also attended by President Bronislaw Komorowski. – We believe that solidarity as a foundation of the EU values (…) can in the future contribute to a response to new challenges, but in the spirit of joint responsibility for all – he said. In crisis situations one should seek incentives to better actions. We are at the stage of – regardless of the crisis – preparation to unavoidable competition within the scope of the entire world – he added. He said that Poland – preparing to take over presidency in the EU in the second half of 2011 – wants to contribute to intensification of the European integration in the area of the common foreign policy, contacts with countries from outside of the European Union.
Komorowski mentioned also about energy solidarity. –Energy solidarity, liberalization of energy markets is a real challenge, a practical test if we can and want to reduce the price of production in Europe by opening the energy markets, to make it more competitive in relation to the external world. As he emphasized, Poland would like that energy solidarity and common thinking about the future of Europe" mean respect of the objective fact that Poland and many other countries joined the EU with great underdevelopment, with difficult experiences with the lunar economy of real socialism".
Toomas Hendrik Ilves – responding to the question about a recipe for good results of Estonia during the crisis, said that he wanted himself to get rid of – perhaps negative – perception of Europe, which consists in dividing the member states into new and old ones. – Here we have no better or worse. We are all equal – he said. Estonia, which - alike Poland – was a typical post-communist country, managed to increase clearly its GDP and overcome, as it was described by president Ilves, peasant’s traditions, building in the same time a modern, European state. As he stated – we became aware earlier than other countries that tax revenues would decrease. We did not reduce expenditure for social and educational purposes. We knew that we had to do it. The President of Estonia expressed also his hope that in the future people would not judge the European countries by words only, but also by actions.
Thomas de Maiziere, German Interior Minister in his speech recalled the words of the president of Estonia, corresponding to hopes and expectations towards the Polish presidency in the European Union. –The Lisbon Treaty is inasmuch important as it responds to all the issues, which are connected to Europe, such as the area of law and justice. It points to three important issues, where compromise should be achieved. According to de Maiziere, the most important of them is the liberty inside of Europe, which requires increased cooperation mainly as regards visas and security. In the same time he noted that many countries desire to liberalize their visa policies, which should open the door for an agreement among them.