25th Economic Forum
Krynica-Zdrój, Poland 8-10 September 2015,
Towards a Resilient Europe. Strategies for the Future
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization guarantees security in Europe – said President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, at the opening of the Economic Forum in Krynica.
NATO, as the main pillar of the European security in the military sense, is still expected to continue its role – convinced the president of Poland during the debate opening the Economic Forum in Krynica. According to Andrzej Duda, Europe can certainly build its own army in parallel, but only within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
- NATO has proved to be effective as a global alliance, which helped to maintain global peace for a long time, even at the times of the greatest challenges – stressed the president. That is why the development of the organization and accession of new member states should be coupled with extension of its heavy infrastructure to the new territories – he continued.
During the discussion with the President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and President of Macedonia Gjorge Ivanov about challenges facing Europe, the Polish president stressed that Poland received funding to support unification of national infrastructure with the European one and expressed his view that NATO should be based on the same principle.
- NATO should develop its infrastructure in new member states after their accession. The alliance cannot afford any gaps in its security system because they become immediately exposed to risks. A shift in NATO's infrastructure towards the eastern flank will be a signal that NATO is not a rigid structure, but a living organization reacting to current events – continued Duda.
Return to the roots
According to Duda, Europe is strong in the sense of the European Union, but helpless towards the encountered problems, such as: demography, the Eurozone crisis, immigration wave from Africa and Middle East and the war in Ukraine.
- The Ukrainian conflict should be ended with a durable peace instead of freezing the current status quo, and that means a return of previous borders of Ukraine. The Minsk Protocol brought certain positive effects by reducing the war considerably, but not ending it.
Duda said that he distinguished three main pillars underlying the good future of Europe. The first one is the necessity to maintain unity, the second security not only in military sense, but also in terms of energy for example. The third pillar is freedom also in the sense of democracy. In his view, the European institutions operate in such a way that societies do not have a sense of any influence on their operations.
- I think that we should return to the roots. The European Union should be the union of sovereign national states, the union where we respect our interests – said the president.
The president convinced that more intense actions were required expressing readiness of Poland to join them. – We can take such actions diplomatically in cooperation with our partners, obviously depending on the will of Ukraine. A Pole is the ambassador of the EU in Kiev, we could become involved as the state – he said.
A fast reaction is necessary
According to the Croatian president, Europe experiences a crisis of vision, identity and leadership.
- It undermines the pillars mentioned by president Andrzej Duda. However, I hope that we can and even have to overcome this crisis – she pointed.
In her opinion, Europe should react more rapidly to all types of risk. Speaking about Ukraine, she said that the integrity of this country could have been strengthened earlier. Lack of immediate European unity in this matter acted as a bad omen.
- Currently, we have to do with a another critical situation. The wave of immigrants flooding across Europe is a huge challenge for Europe. We should focus though on elimination of the initial reasons of that situation: war, poverty and destabilization in the Middle East – continued Grabar-Kitarović. – In the opposite case, the foundations of Europe, such as taken down borders, will be undermined – she convinced.
President of Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov pointed that Macedonia was left with the problem of flooding immigrants on its own.
- The European institutions operate perfectly when we live in peace. Yet, in critical situations they are unable to take fast decisions and the crisis intensifies leading to even greater consequences – said Ivanov. The Middle East as the main source of refugees coming to Europe is strongly tied with the Caucasus and Balkan countries. It seems that politicians are unable to resolve this Bermuda Triangle – added the president of Macedonia.
As he pointed, Macedonia has vast experience in peaceful coexistence with the Islamic societies and could share its experience with the European Union in terms of building the society based on mutual respect.
Andrzej Duda said that further integration of Europe must take place with respect of sovereignty of individual countries. He emphasized that Poland's decision to introduce Euro should be preceded by a referendum.
- It should be a conscious decision, with full information for the Polish society – about the effects, the fact that the steering institution will be ECB and not NBP, and the effects of swapping the currency – according to the president.
For the tenth time, RWE Poland was a partner of the Economic Forum in Krynica. This year the group of political and business leaders discussed first of all how to ensure economic growth and security in the Old Continent in the face of increasing global economic competition and geopolitical conflicts. The plenary session „How to build strong Europe? Strategies for the future”, opening the 25th EF, was attended by: Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland, Kolinda Grabar–Kitarović, President of the Republic of Croatia and Gorge Ivanov, President of the Republic of Macedonia. Filip Thon, President of the Board of Directors of RWE Poland was invited to the discussion as the only representative of the business world.