“Times of change. Europe at the threshold of a new decade ”- plenary session during the 30th Economic Forum in Karpacz

The changes caused by the pandemic in Europe were discussed by the participants of the afternoon plenary session during the second day of the 30th Economic Forum in Karpacz.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced a series of changes in international relations, business models and our daily lives. The new decade begins with many challenges that Europe must face. Providing citizens with health security, calming the growing anxiety in societies, and political and economic stabilization are just some of them. What awaits Europe on the threshold of the new decade?

The participants of the plenary session looked for answers to this question: the leader of the Belarusian Opposition, Sviatlana Cichanouska; The Minister of Economic Development of Montenegro, Jakov Milatovic; Chairman of the Party “Porozumienia Jarosława Gowina”, Jarosław Gowin; Director of the European Strategy Research Institute, Tibor Navracsics and Managing Director of MSD Polska, Dimitri Gitas.

One of the main topics of the debate was the response of the European Union and its members to the crisis caused by the pandemic. – Our response to the pandemic was swift and adequate. – said Jarosław Gowin – However, it is worth wondering whether it was a reaction of European or EU politicians. I think that the European Commission was clearly late in this case, which could have been demonstrated by the decline in Europeans’ trust in the EU institutions in the first phase of the pandemic.

Tibor Navracsics expressed a similar opinion: – The Union’s first reaction to covid was neither prompt nor efficient. It was national governments that responded adequately to the pandemic threat. The former Hungarian deputy prime minister also stated that the European Union has so far been successful in developing economic integration, but the same cannot be said of its political results.

Another important issue raised in the debate was the role of the state in overcoming the crisis. Jarosław Gowin said that during the pandemic the state began to intervene in the economy on an unprecedented scale, but it would be unfavorable to maintain this situation in the long run. Jakov Milatovic had a different opinion on this matter: – We are questioning the role of the state, but it was its reaction – vaccines, health care, unemployment benefits – that helped to survive the crisis. Ultimately, what matters should be a transparent, efficient and non-corrupted policy.

Dimitri Gitas emphasized the role of investments in science. – When we look at the current situation, we see that it is extremely important not only to invest in innovation, but also to ensure that these innovations are available for the people who need them. – stated Gitas, referring to the distribution of vaccines.

Swiatłana Cichanouska indicated that the situation in Belarus is currently different from that in other countries. – When the world was fighting with the pandemic, our government were fighting with the people. – The leader of the Belarusian opposition also said that is grateful for the European states for their support and asked for the continuation of this policy.

Two more plenary sessions are scheduled for Thursday 9 September. At 9:15 am there will be a plenary session “The Post–Pandemic World. Economy, Sovereignty, Solidarity “, and at 6pm – “Europe: Direction Recovery”.