3rd Forum of Regions (2009)
Muszyna, Krynica-Zdrój 9-11 September 2009
Minister of Regional Development
Minister of Regional Development and Construction
FORUM OF REGIONS
The third edition of the Forum of Regions took place from 9th to 11th September 2009. The event is an integral part of the Economic Forum in Krynica, which has already been held on nineteen occasions. The organizers of the Forum of Regions are the Eastern Institute and Malopolska Voivodeship.
The Forum of Regions, as a meeting platform providing the opportunity to share ideas, contributes to the debate on our common future. Since only large and strong regions can take appropriate place in the structures of united Europe. Frequently not states, but in fact regions have the greatest influence on decisions concerning themselves. Effectively functioning regions can avail themselves of EU aid funds efficiently and ensure appropriate functioning of communes and districts. The Forum of Regions has the purpose of providing assistance within the above mentioned scope. Local self-government activists of different rank from Poland and neighbouring states discussed their pending issues with the representatives of state administration and the European Commission.
The Forum of Regions was attended by more than 200 guests from Central and Eastern European countries.
The PROGRAMME of the Forum of Regions included selected plenary sessions and debates taking place during the XIX Economic Forum in Krynica-Zdroj and a block of panel discussions in Muszyna.
REPORTS FROM THE FORUM OF REGIONS IN KRYNICA-ZDROJ
During the first day of the Forum, Roman Ciepiela, the Deputy Marshall of Malopolska Voivodeship opened discussion on regional development in the EU. The discussion panel „Modern regional policy as an instrument in development of the state and region” was attended by the following guests: Wasyl Kujbida from Regional Development and Construction Ministry of Ukraine, Hanna Jahns from Polish Ministry of Regional Development and Olivier Barbaroux, the President of Veolia Energy/Dalkia from France. A Member of the Management Board Wojciech Kozak led the debate entitled „Environment protection or economic growth – how to ensure sustainable regional development?”.
Currently the regional policy undergoes transformation in Europe. – We started the Forum from fundamental questions: Can the state be stronger thanks to the power of its regions? For this purpose cooperation is necessary between the government, regional self-governments and the society (…) The speed of compensating for differences among regions is growing dynamically, but it is also accompanied by increasing differences in the speed of regional development. What should be done to prevent it? – asked the Deputy Marshall Ciepiela.
- We have already talked about a new concept of regional policy, which relies on internal potential of the regions and unique features underpinning regional specialization – convinced the Deputy Marshall. – regional self-governments should not be the only ones that care for regional development: it is necessary to cooperate with metropolises, districts, communes and social and economic partners.
Hanna Jahns, a Secretary of State in the Ministry of Regional Development, informed that MRR published on its website information about consulting related to regional development strategy. In her speech, she emphasized the importance of: identifying areas of strategic intervention (in which areas the region has good results, and in which assistance in needed?), building institutional system around the regional policy, better integration of sectorial policy.
Wasyl Kujbida, the Minister of Regional Development and Construction of Ukraine, presented Ukrainian experience within the scope of regional policy and declared his intention to cooperate with the member states of the European Union.
Olivier Barbaroux, the President of the Management Board of Veolia Energy/Dalkia from France, referred to the issue of administering energy. – Important are urban areas. When we produce electricity and heat, the regulator are not urban areas anymore. We manage technologies and people. Our research and development efforts no longer have local character – said Barbaroux.
- We proceed according to the principle: think globally, act locally. What we need is to return to values, solidarity. Economic decisions are not taken at the local level – emphasized Roman Ciepiela.
Jerzy Buzek, the Chairman of the European Parliament, a special guest of the discussion panel, stated that: Not much can be added. Currently, during the crisis, it is best to look for opportunities in innovations. In the crisis time demand for products is shrinking. The idea of the EU is cohesion. Inflow of money. Local self-governments, business and science form a Golden Development Triangle. Science must be turned into business to be a driving force for industry.
Intensive economic growth has always posed risk to the natural environment. Panellists in the second discussion asked a question: economic growth or environment protection?
– Waste management and protection against noise are important issues. For our country five years is not enough to catch up. Communes do not fulfil their obligations, because of the crisis. We are in trouble. Noise protection programme is important, because without it we would have to pay penalties. We have the great Balice airport and 1300 kilometres of roads – said Wojciech Kozak, a Member of the Management Board, presenting the situation in Malopolska.
Maciej Nowicki, the Minister of the Environment of Poland, explained: Our economy is predatory. We have losses in agriculture, losses in forestry, sickness absences and excessive mortality. Economics is more important and the environment should follow it. We will never be rich, if we do not care about the environment. Environment pollution leads to enormous social costs. Technological modernization and reduced amounts of waste cause that plants become less harmful to the environment. Environmental pollution, behind which stands the humankind, is irrevocable. Nature constitutes a great value. The strategy of ecological development of Poland means that human life, health and environment protection have supreme values.
Staffan Tillander, the Ambassador for Climate Changes in the Swedish Ministry of Economy, Energy and Communication, emphasized that in order to improve the condition of natural environment we need more research and investment, legal regulations breaking the barriers – we must act together!
Marc Coroler, a Vice-president of Schneider-Electric Industries SAS from France, presented the French experience in reducing the amounts of used energy. Michael Hepp, the President of the Management Board of BASF, emphasized that environment protection makes sense provided that the whole world follows the same rules. Jan Szyszko, a Member of Parliament from Poland, noticed that economic development and environment protection are not mutually exclusive: – It is precisely sustainable development – he emphasized.
Mariusz Klimczak, the President of BOS bank, paid attention to financing projects connected with environment protection. Brugia Schmognerova, a Vice-president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, demonstrated opportunities and threats of „green economy”, and Marta Szigeti Bonifert – the Hungarian experience.
THE FORUM OF REGIONS IN MUSZYNA
The Deputy Marshall Roman Ciepiela with the Chairman of the Programme Council Zygmunt Berdychowski opened the debates of the Forum of Regions in Muszyna held within the scope of the second day of the Economic Forum. Introduction was made by Mrs Hanna Jahns, a Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Mr Wasyl Kujbida, the Minister of Regional Development and Construction of Ukraine. The topics discussed by gathered guests included, first of all, the issue of regional development in the realities of changing European Union.
– The Forum of Regions creates an opportunity for a serious debate, how to search for good solutions for local self-governments and states in the time of the economic crisis. Malopolska is an island; others envy us growth. We need to know, what should be done to ensure stable regional development, and superiority of solidarity over competitiveness – said Roman Ciepiela.
During the meeting, Grzegorz Schetyna, a Deputy Prime Minister, delivered a lecture on the most important institutional factors in the regional development of Poland in the beginning of XXI century. Grzegorz Schetyna pointed out that it is a mistake to delegate provide local self-governments with additional competences without an adequate financial mechanism. – We want to delegate power and decentralize, because we have already done a lot in Poland – explained the Deputy Prime Minister.
A Member of the Management Board Marek Sowa led a discussion panel entitled „Between solidarity and competitiveness – regional policy dilemmas” attended, among others, by Wasyl Kujbida, the Minister of Regional Development and Construction of Ukraine, Georg Milbradt, a former Prime Minister of Saxony and Liselott Hagberg, a Deputy Chair of Swedish Parliament. Marek Sowa stressed that the objective of the Management Board of the Voivodeship is to prepare the region so that it can meet global challenges. – Although weaker regions are supported, divisions still increase – emphasized Marek Sowa.
Professor Leszek Balcerowicz made a comparative presentation of the main challenges of the Polish economic transformation. – it is slippery, where money is too easily available. Yellow and red cards should be handed to those, who inflate the state. We are overwhelmed by a fiscal eurosclerosis. We cannot maintain socialism and avoid reforms. Poland is likely to avoid recession. However, one has to change cynical laws, stemming from populist emotions, such as aversion to the weaker or the reach. The state cannot replace the family. A Soviet myth is still cultivated, which comes from reliance on the state in everything. State supervision causes that good management is more difficult. We need to discuss facts and not clichés and preaching – said Leszek Balcerowicz.
Another panel – „Economic crisis and crisis of values” was led by Deputy Marshall Leszek Zegzda. The Deputy Marshall proposed a thesis that the economic crisis was triggered by a crisis of traditional values, on which the economy rested for centuries. – The balance between „to have” and „to be” has been shaken. Yet, when we observe the rules and act according to certain values, we can avoid crises in both our personal and social life – emphasized the Deputy Marshall.
According to Philippe Bertaud, the Vice-president of Grand Nancy agglomeration from France, values have become weaker, profit has become a product, and money a purpose in itself. – Today we want to select our new values, values – not one value– he added.
In the Benedictine perception of the world the most important thing is integral perception of the man. The basic values are to look for peace, observe the rules, moderation and humility. Father Łukasz Bernard Sawicki, the Abbot of Benedictines in Tyniec, stated that: It is not possible for everyone to select the values to be followed – they have already been selected and one has to accept them. He also referred to the 2nd and the 64th chapter of the Rule of Saint Benedict, which describes the features of the abbot and the way he should be appointed – as an example of behaviour for all supervisors.
- Local self-government has little influence on global challenges, but locally we can do a lot: we can have influence on attitudes, values and affluence of our citizens – emphasized Ryszard Ścigała, the Mayor of Tarnow.
In the end of the discussion the Deputy Marshall Zegzda described what could be done as regards the crisis. It includes, among other things: continuous monitoring of the economic situation, expenditure discipline, stimulation of local economy, use of European funds, support of innovations, development of infrastructure, organization of congresses, festivals and other events, care for education, ensuring public security, building civil society.
The Marshall of Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship, Władysław Husejko, was a moderator of a panel „Innovations and education as factors in regional development”. In the time of production crisis, education and innovations become more and more important factors in regional development. Jarosław Pawłowski from the Ministry of Regional Development announced a new stage of innovations in regions: the weight of innovations in regions will be moved to regional self-governments, because they are mostly interested in innovations in their regions, most frequently cooperation between entities takes place inside of specific voivodeships, and, also because regional self-governments have the best knowledge of specific features of their regions.
Elizabeth Vitouch, a Lantag Councillor and a Member of Vienna City Council, presented the role of regions in stimulating innovations with the example of her own region. Gunter Pleuger, the President of the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), pointed to three aspects: education, which must be international, interdisciplinary character of acquired knowledge and cross-border cooperation within the scope of education. – The best method to achieve innovations is to invest in intellectual potential – he emphasized.
Krzysztof Krzysztofiak, the President of the Management Board of Malopolska Agency of Regional Development, stressed the importance of cooperation between the world of science and economy: technological parks, economic zones, special zones, incubators emerge as a result of joint efforts of scientists and businessmen … It is important to find a common language and common targets and to prevent situations, in which profit and time oriented business persons do not want to wait for test results.
- Scientists learn more and more how to communicate with entrepreneurs– emphasized Gerd Hams, a Minister in the Government of German Brandenburg, appealing in the same time to speak about human beings and their development instead of technologies.
- Innovations and science create chances for economic growth and it depends on us, if we take these opportunities – said Marshall Husejko as a conclusion of the debate.
The following panel discussions were also held during the second part of the debates of the Forum of Regions: „Business and local self-government in actions for the benefit of the environment”, led by Irena Herbst, the President of the Management Board of Private-Public Partnership Centre; „Services, documents and electronic platforms as a basis of modern administration” – by Jarosław Deminet. Krzysztof Michalski, the President of the Management Board of the Military Property Agency gave a lecture „MPA and local self-governments”. The Team of Strategic Consultants of the Prime Minister of Poland, under the leadership of Michał Boni, presented a report „Poland 2030”. Development challenges”, which identifies 10 key challenges, which await Poland in the nearest two decades.
To end the debates Zbigniew Sosnowski from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration presented a national rescue-fire-fighting system and the role, tasks and sources of financing for voluntary fire brigades.
A plenary session „The world after crisis. A New economic order” was convened on a symbolic day for the world – 11th September. The meeting was opened by Marek Sowa, a Member of the Management Board of Malopolska Voivodeship and Krzysztof Krzysztofiak – the President of Malopolska Agency of Regional Development. The discussion on future of the world’s macroeconomics was attended by: Edmund Phelps from Columbia University, winner of the Noble Prize in Economics for analysis of intertemporal tradeoffs in macroeconomic policy, Peter Schiff – an economist and the President of Euro Pacific, who is referred to as „the one, who anticipated the crisis”, Francis Bailly – a Vice-president for European Affairs of GE International, Wolfgang Clement – the Chairman of the European Union Forum and – as a commentator – Jan Vincent-Rostowski – the Minister of Finance of Poland. The discussion was moderated by Krzysztof Rybiński – a Professor at Warsaw School of Economics.
The discussion was divided into four parts. In the part „the World after the crisis” participants tried to answer a question about the structure of the world’s currency reserves and reflected, whether global disproportions still existed. In the second part, the participants discussed if the current financial crisis is likely to lead to changes in the economic theory, and, why so few economists anticipated the crisis? The next topic of discussion was, how developed countries can escape from the trap of indebtedness – if the government’s reaction would be inflation or innovations? The panel ended with a reflection on how to prevent future crises.
Edmund Phelps anticipates a further decrease in the US economy in the future, which is expected to translate into the global economy. Weaknesses in the US economy are not noticed and repaired. – For Eastern Europe the crisis creates a chance to catch up with Western Europe – he emphasized. Wolfgang Clement said that the centres of economic domination are bound to shift eastwards. We can expect changes: inter alia in the banking system, in methods of providing energy. According to Peter Schiff the US dollar will not be international currency any longer, and American influence will be considerably reduced. – Instead of learning from our own mistakes, we make the same ones again and again, for example we spend borrowed money on consumption instead of investments – he criticized the American economy. Francis Bailly paid attention to demographic issues – emerging huge metropolises, which exceed certain states in the number of citizens – and what follows – issues with ensuring security, including energy security. He also touched on the issue of regional development and cooperation among regions.
On the third day of the Forum of Regions discussion focused on EU assistance, infrastructural investments, regional cooperation and public transport systems. During a panel „The 5th anniversary of the presence of the CEE region – the beneficiary of EU assistance – in the European Union; conclusions and perspectives”, led by Kiejstut Zagun from KPMG, the representatives of beneficiaries discussed their practical experience in using EU funds. A report was presented on use of the European funds in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe in the years 2007-2008.
A special guest, Danuta Hübner – a Member of the European Parliament and the former European Commissioner for Regional Policy, emphasized that years 2004-2006 were
good for new member states in both quantitative and qualitative terms – the funds were used entirely. As regards, for example, the Rural Development Programme 95% of payments have already been made till now, and the rest – is scheduled to be made until the end of next year. Referring to the new financial period, Mrs Hübner convinced that it is not only worth to build infrastructure, but also to deal with investments in human capital and innovations (…) Innovations are not just technology, but unconventional thinking, which leads to unconventional actions.
Participants in the discussion panel „Infrastructural investments as barriers or opportunities in the time of economic crisis”, led by Lech Witecki, a Director General of National Roads and Motorways, tried to answer the question, whether investments in infrastructure in the time of economic crisis can contribute to stimulation of the Polish economy and development of companies.
The discussion „Regional cooperation – experience and opportunities” – moderated by Dag Larsonn, the Commissioner of the Council of Stockholm Region– was related to cross-border cooperation between regions as well as local administration in the European Union and Russia.
Exemplary achievements of European cities within the scope of effective public transport were presented during a discussion panel entitled „Metro makes a metropolis – modern systems of public transport in European cities”. The Panel was led by Mr Michał Beim from Sobieski Institute.
SOURCE: PRESS OFFICE OF MALOPOLSKA VOIVODESHIP (Agata Złonkiewicz, Grzegorz Nycz) – A CO-ORGANIZER OF THE FORUM OF REGIONS
We would like to extend our cordial thanks to all moderators, panellists, foreign and Polish guests, to the co-organizer and the partners. The involvement of many persons and institutions allowed us, as the organizers, to prepare well the programme of the Forum of Regions. Thanks to you this important event took place one more time, occupying a fixed place on the agenda of many regional representatives. We would like to express our hope that also next year you will honour us with your presence.
Manager, Forum of Regions
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