Summary of the 29th Krynica Economic Forum (3-5 September 2019)

The Krynica Economic Forum is the largest meeting of its kind in Central Europe discussing not only security, economic prospects and societal challenges but also specific solutions and innovative ideas. What’s more, each of its participants, in their own way, creates its unique image. The international dimension of the Forum with an ever growing foreign attendance allows to forge a stereotype-free, fact-based exchange.

Attendance: an upward trend continues

This year (3-5 September) Krynica was visited by 5.5 thousand guests from over than 60 countries. Traditionally, the Forum has been creating a space for discussing ways to deal with threats that have been universal for the world for almost 30 years. In discussing regional problems or issues important on a global scale, different optics and the will of compromise are needed. Plenary sessions and panels discussed security, cyberthreats, challenges related to the world’s economic competition, but also universal values such as freedom and solidarity. The question about the future was also included in the motto of this year’s Forum: Europe of Tomorrow. The Europe of Tomorrow. ‘Strong’ Meaning What?

Key players: state, business, media

This year’s Forum was attended by the most important players in the world of politics, business and media in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the ones connected with the world of science and culture. The guests included former and current prime ministers, speakers of chambers of parliaments, ministers and parliamentarians as well as representatives of the most important corporations operating both in the region and globally. The 29th Economic Forum hosted representatives of Polish state authorities: Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Speaker of the Sejm Elżbieta Witek, Speaker of the Senate Stanisław Karczewski, Deputy Prime Ministers Jarosław Gowin and Piotr Gliński as well as Polish government ministers. Among the distinguished foreign guests were Richard Rasi, Slovak Deputy Prime Minister, Luca Jahier, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Alexandru Petrescu, Minister of Communication and Information Society of Romania, Jaroslaw Narkiewicz, Minister of Transport and Communication from Lithuania, Talis Linkaits, Minister Transport from Latvia, Stjepan Mesic, President of Croatia in 2000-2010, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, Zeljka Cvijanowić, President of the Republika Srpska, (Bosnia and Herzegovina), general Ben Hodges, Honorary President, Center for European Policy Analyzes (CEPA), USA, Marijana Nikolova, deputy prime minister for economic and demographic policy from Bulgaria, Virginijus Sinkievicius, Minister of Economy from Lithuania, Christian Cardona, Minister of Economy, Investment and Small Enterprises in the Government of Malta, Andrei Ilarionov from CATO Institute, General Robert Spalding from the Hudson Institute, Washington DC, Christos Cabolis, Chief Economist & Head of Operations, IMD World Competitiveness Center, Peter Mather, Group Regional President, BP Europe and Jonathan Knott, British Ambassador to Poland.

Traditionally, an important element of the meeting in Krynica is the Forum of Regions, which brought to Krynica a large group of local government representatives who debated the challenges they have faced in their little homelands.

Krynica attracts the biggest companies and institutions with a regional and global reach. Among them, Zbigniew Jagiełło, President of the Management Board of PKO BP, Daniel Obajtek, President of the Management Board of PKN ORLEN SA, Michał Krupiński, President of Bank Pekao SA, Krzysztof Mamiński, President of the Management Board of PKP SA, Henryk Baranowski, President of PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA, Filip Grzegorczyk, President of the company Tauron Polska Energia SA, Marek Dietl, President of the Warsaw Stock Exchange, Paweł Surówka, President of the management board of PZU SA, Damian Zapłat, Member of the Management Board of Allegro, Steven Harman, Vice-President of Amazon in Europe, Robert Bednarski, Director for Central and Eastern Europe, Facebook , Paweł Borys, President of the Polish Development Fund, Ash Kebriti, General Manager of CEE, Uber, Dominika Bettman, President of the Board, Siemens, Mirosław Kowalik, President of the Management Board of ENEA SA, Piotr Woźniak, President of the Management Board, Polish Oil Mining and Gas  Extractionv SA, Ewa Wernerowicz, President of the Management Board, Vivus Finance, Marcin Chludziński, President of the Management Board, KGHM Polska Miedź, Krzysztof Pawiński, President of the Maspex Group Management Board, Mateusz Aleksander Bonca, President of the Board of  LOTOS Group, Tonny Bao, President of the Board, Huawei, Tomasz Czechowicz, President of MCI, Beata Daszyńska-Muzyczka, President of the BGK, Rafał Szafraniec, KPMG, Marta Poślad, Director of public policy in Central and Eastern Europe, Google, Tomasz Rogala, President, PGG, Michał Potoczek, President of the Board, Operator of the National Cloud, and others.

For the first time, the subject of security, including information security, has been highlighted as part of a separate structured path – the Cybersecurity Forum. This formula focused, among others, on the information war, the threat of fake news, and the mechanisms that create the base of action of  media nowadays. Among the panelists of the forum were the heads of the largest publishing houses and corporations represented on the Polish media market, it is worth to mention that the panel on media independence was attended by the head of Österreichischer Rundfunk (Austrian public radio and television broadcaster), Alexander Wrabetz.

Europe: what future lies ahead

The Forum’s motto touched upon the issue of the common future and its vision, which is all the more relevant that cracks have begun to open up in the concept of the European community, namely due to Brexit. This was reflected in the titles of the plenary sessions:

  • Europe of tomorrow. ‘Strong’ Meaning What?
  • Polish business in a changing Europe. Position-strategies-prospects
  • Europe in the face of global rivalry
  • A world of shared values. Is it still possible?
  • History is knocking on our doors. Economy and politics
  • What is the value of security in today’s world?

 

Contemporary Europe seems to be prone to divisions and it is a trend – also in the context of short-term electoral or political benefits – used by groups building their strength on populism or fueling hostility. Is there a chance to find common values ​​for a continent so diverse today, both, in ethnic and political terms? What values ​​should become the foundation for a Europe of the future? Answers to these questions were searched (in different frames) during all plenary sessions.

Image of the region: Report by the Institute of Eastern Studies and the Warsaw School of Economics

The report entitled Central and Eastern Europe in the face of global trends: economy, society and business was prepared by a group of excellent experts of the Warsaw School of Economics, and its presentation took place at noon on the first day of the Forum. In the titles of its12 chapters, one may find full scope of topics or problems on solving which the Economic Forum in Krynica has been building its substantive brand for almost thirty years. The presentation of the report ended with questions from the audience and journalists and a discussion during which scientists of the Warsaw School of Economics headed by its Rector, Professor Marek Rocki, explained all aspects that required commentary.

I think that we are facing a significant slowdown, we do not have such far-reaching analyses to determine whether there will be a recession in Poland – said prof. Rocki. The reasons for the decline include, among others, the US-Chinese trade war and the export slowdown.

Project: Health

As a part of the Healthcare Forum, which is one of the thematic paths of the Krynica Economic Forum, there were several panels, among others, on improving the quality of health services, management efficiency in healthcare, ensuring access to the latest medical technologies, adaptation of innovative solutions, priorities for changes in the health care system in 2019-2023 perspective or fighting staff shortages and preventing civilization diseases.

During the Healthcare Forum Gala, attended by Łukasz Szumowski, Minister of Health, the winners of the 10th Ranking of Healthcare Forum were awarded. The ranking is Poland’s only classification of healthcare companies by measure of results. Its purpose is to identify the most effective and most dynamically developing entities. The organizers of the ranking are the Institute for Eastern Studies and the European Center for Strategy and Policies in Health Care. Awards were presented in the following categories:

  • Investor: LUX MED Group,
  • Exporter: Essity Poland,
  • Producer of medical equipment and devices: Synektik SA,
  • Equipment distributor: Medtronic Poland
  • Hospitals and clinics: Beskid Medical Center and Oncology Center
  • Clinical trials: Independent Public Clinical Hospital of the Silesian Medical University in Katowice,
  • Social Responsibility Leader: Hearing and Speech Center in Kajetany.

This year, the jury chose the Innovation Leader and the Social Responsibility Leader for the first time, deciding to award two equal prizes in the field of innovation, and they were: Polpharma and the Oncology Institute in Gliwice. A company MSD was also awarded the special prize.  The gala was graced by the performance of the AUTENTIKOS band.

The Man of the Year

By decision of the Programme Council of the Krynica Economic Forum, Mateusz Morawiecki became the Man of the Year. The award was handed in by Elżbieta Witek, Speaker of Polish Sejm.

In 2018, Poland showed a lion’s claw, we owe it to entrepreneurs who hold the bull by the horns, who take the risk on themselves. It is also a reward for them – Polish Prime Minister said upon receiving the award. Mateusz Morawiecki appreciated the advantages of Krynica-Zdrój. He emphasized that he happily appears at the Economic Forum for years, but he also enjoys listening to Polish entrepreneurs who often – just in Krynica – talk about  their ambitious plans.

– This year I am at Economic Forum for the fourteenth time, I look at its evolution, the evolution of the Polish economy, the Polish economic system and I think that we can hope that in the next fourteen years we will be able to say that we are more or less at the level of economic development  represented by the countries of Western Europe – stressed Mateusz Morawiecki. According to the prime minister, thanks to the visionary approach of Polish companies, we will see next years of development that will allow us to improve the material status of Polish families.

Let our economic and social wings lead us into a beautiful economic future. This is our duty, calling and purpose. Thank you for appreciating the Polish economy, entrepreneurs and Polish employees – ended his speech  prime minister.

Prizes were also awarded in three other categories. The title of the Company of the Year was awarded to the largest Polish bank – PKO BP, and the statuette was received by the President of the Board, Zbigniew Jagiełło. The Economic Award of the Warsaw School of Economics, which is also the Special Award of the Krynica Forum, was awarded to Anna Rulkiewicz, who stands for the purposes of the Luxmed Group. During the gala, the New Culture of New Europe Award was given to the Hungarian literature and culture historian, prof. Csaba György Kiss.

What defines us: culture

Guests who came to Sądecczyzna to participate in the XXIX Economic Forum could reach for a rich cultural offer. Concerts, book promotions, exhibitions, workshops and culinary shows enriched the reality of the three days of the Krynica Forum and were a valuable complement to the substantive part of the conference. It is worth to mention that the acclaimed Israeli writer Jakov Shechter also participated in the forum. The guests had the opportunity to see 5 exhibitions, listen to 10 concerts, including: AUKSO, the Chamber Orchestra of the City of Tychy and Kasia Moś with the band, the Border Guard Representative Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Trio of Andrzej Jagodziński and the Kerekes Band from Hungary. In addition, they could take part in seven author’s evenings and three film screenings.