Summary of the 28th Economic Forum in Krynica

It is the people who constitute the Economic Forum in Krynica. With their knowledge, experience and readiness to talk. Every year, the group of Forum participants grows and they admit that participation in the event is a kind of a must. Especially now, when many issues cannot be resolved without multilateral debates, comparing various perspectives, reasons and arguments. Just like the awareness that today, here and now, we are creating a climate of substantive discussion about the future.


Record attendance

Krynica this year was visited by almost 4,500 guests and over 600 journalists from 60 countries. For almost 30 years, the Forum has been a space for discussions on how to deal with threats that are largely universal in the world. More and more foreign guests arrive at the Nowy Sącz county every year and in 2018 they made up for well over a third of the participants. It proves that in the discussion about the problems of a region or matters important on a global scale we need different optics and the will to seek a compromise. During the plenary sessions and panels of the 28th Economic Forum, the themes of reforms, financial and transport challenges that face Europe were addressed, as well as means of aid in times of crisis and different aspects of security. A lot of space was also devoted to the prospects for development and cooperation in the region.


It is the people who constitute Krynica

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 people of science and culture. The guests included former and current prime ministers, marshals of chambers of parliament, ministers and parliamentarians as well as representatives of the most important companies operating both in the region and globally. Most important Polish state authorities were present at the 28th Economic Forum: the Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the Speaker of the Sejm Marek Kuchciński, the Speaker of the Senate Stanisław Karczewski and many  ministers of the Polish government. Outstanding international guests include Saulius Skvernelis, Prime Minister of Lithuania, David Roy Lidington, Cabinet Minister and Chancellor of the Lancaster Duchy, Member of the British Cabinet Office, Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Edgars Rinkēvičs, Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, Angelo Farrugia, Speaker of the Malta House of Representatives, Stepan Kubiv, First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economic Development and Trade in the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, János Latorcai, Deputy Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly and Valeri Simeonov, the current Deputy Prime Minister for Economic and Demographic Policy in the government of Bulgaria. The list of the most important guests of this year’s Forum consists of dozens of surnames in the rank of the highest state officials.

Upcoming local government elections in Poland brought a large group of local government representatives to Krynica, who discussed the challenges of their “small homelands” as part of a separate thematic path – the Regions Forum.

The most important economic topics in Krynica were discussed by representatives of Polish and foreign companies with a regional and global range. Among them, prof. Herman Simon from Simon-Kucher & Partners, Dominika Bettman, President of the Management Board of Siemens Sp. z o.o., Piotr Dziwok, President of Shell Polska Sp. z o.o., Mirosław Kowalik, president of ENEA S.A., Henryk Baranowski, president of PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna S.A., Filip Grzegorczyk, president of Tauron Polska Energia S.A., Filip Thon, member of Executive Committee Retail innogy SE, president of the management board of innogy Polska S.A., Michał Krupiński, president Bank Pekao S.A., Marek Dietl, President of the Warsaw Stock Exchange S.A. The Forum was also attended by: Steven Harman, vice president of Amazon in Europe, Robert Bednarski, director for Central and Eastern Europe Facebook, Piotr Ciski, managing director of Sage Sp. z o.o., Dariusz Blocher, President of the Management Board of BUDIMEX, Paweł Borys, President of the Polish Development Fund and Tony Housh, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Poland, Daniel Obajtek, President of the Board and Director General of PKN ORLEN S.A., Piotr Woźniak, President of the Board, PGNiG Capital Group, Marcin Chludziński, President of the Board, KGHM Polska Miedź, Mateusz Aleksander Bonca, President of the Board, LOTOS Group and Alicja Barbara Klimiuk, acting President of the Board, ENERGA SA.


Interests or values

A Europe of common values or a Europe of common interests – the motto of the Forum touches on the issue of integration, which went very well, as long as it was based on economy. Problems started at the beginning of the 21st century, when values became the focus. Since that time more and more cracks have begun to appear on the foundation of the European vision of the community, the most spectacular expression of which was Brexit.

During the plenary sessions of the Forum, whose dominant feature is traditionally Europe in a comprehensive approach, the following topics were addressed:

  • Between Economy and Politics. In Search of Recipes for Economic Growth;
  • How to Effectively Build an Innovative Economy? Experiences – Inspirations – Strategies;
  • Europe – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow;
  • Brexit and the Future of the European Union;
  • Europe in Search of Values;
  • Investments in Health and Health Economy – Health Challenges of the State in the Context of Economic Development.

Modern Europe seems to be susceptible to divisions. Is there a chance to find common values of the continent in both ethnic and political terms? What values should be the foundation for the future of Europe? Answers to these questions were sought during the plenary session summarizing the 28th Economic Forum in Krynica entitled  Europe of common values or Europe of common interests?


The image of Poland against the background of the region in the report of the Institute for Eastern Studies and the Warsaw School of Economics

The report prepared by a group of outstanding experts from the Warsaw School of Economics entitled Economic Challenges for Central and Eastern Europe was presented on the first day of the Forum. In addition to challenges, it also indicates activities that can mitigate the effects of currently identified social problems, for example the impact of population aging on the Polish economy. The proposed remedies included, inter alia, need for government support for families (children and elderly people care) so more women can be professionally active. Rector of Warsaw School of Economics, prof. dr hab. Marek Rocki pointed to the role of education and training in the process of good preparation of the next generations to compete in the labour market.


Healthcare as a foundation for the functioning of the state

As part of the Healthcare Forum, which is one of the thematic paths of the Krynica Forum each year, a dozen or so thematic panels were held on, among others, improving the quality of health services, efficiency of healthcare management, providing access to the latest medical technologies or the payment model with the effects on treatment. During the gala there were also prizes awarded for the winners of the Ranking of the 9th Healthcare Forum, and the ceremony was attended by Łukasz Szumowski, the Polish Minister of Health. The ranking is a project addressed to the best companies from the broadly understood health sector, a sector of key importance for the Polish economy, because it is the most modern and fastest growing in the country. Its further development can be an enormous opportunity for the entire economy, and especially for the development of the latest technologies.

In the ranking prepared by the Healthcare Forum in cooperation with the European Centre of Strategies and Policies in Healthcare, 262 largest companies from the industry operating in Poland were taken into account. When selecting the winners, the Chapter took into consideration the enterprises that in 2017 showed positive equity, and their sales revenues exceeded PLN 7 million. Eleven detailed parameters have been taken into account, which can be divided into three main groups: revenue dynamics, innovations and investments. Winners in individual categories were:

  • Production of medical equipment and devices: Medicalgorithmics S.A.
  • Drug production: Adamed Pharma S.A.
  • Clinical trials: Polish Stem Cell Bank S.A.
  • Diagnostics: Department of Neuroradiosurgery Sp. z o.o.
  • Hospitals and private clinics: Vivadental Sp. z o.o.
  • Hospitals and public clinics: Independent Public Unit of Open Health Institutions Warsaw – Żoliborz.

The awards gala was a kind of prelude to the plenary session, which was the focal point of the second day of the Forum. The session “Investments in health and health – health challenges of the state in the context of economic development” in the framework of the debate “Together for Health” gathered five ministers who were led by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in the discussion on the healthcare system. It was one of the most spectacular events in the 27-year history of the Economic Forum. Never before, in any plenary session, so many members of the Polish cabinet participated in one place. The Prime Minister emphasised that healthcare is a great challenge for every country. He announced that he would strive to modernise it: “We took this glove very bravely (…). Healthcare is and will be a priority for us” – he declared. He added that expectations regarding the protection system differ from the existing reality not only in Poland.


Economy and politics

The 28th Economic Forum began with a debate on possible scenarios for the development of Europe. The debate “Between economy and politics. Europe in search of prescriptions for economic and social growth”, was attended by: Beata Szydło, vice president of the Council of Ministers, Valeri Simeonov, deputy prime minister for economic and demographic policy of Bulgaria, Stepan Kubiv, first deputy prime minister of Ukraine, William Ribaudo, managing partner Deloitte, Filip Thon, president Innogy Polska and Reiner Schlatmann, president of Philips in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The guests gathered in the hall in Pijalnia were welcomed the Marshal of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Jacek Krupa and the mayor of Krynica-Zdrój, Dariusz Reśko. – “Krynica has become the world centre of economic considerations for 27 years” – said the latter.

During the inaugural debate, guests raised the subject of the relationship between the economy and the state and the impact of political security on the economic situation. The Ukraine-Russia conflict and its economic consequences could not have been forgotten. Also, the phenomenon of so-called “bad business” was discussed. Participants of the conversation paid great attention to changes in social structure in Europe and to the impact of this process on the economic situation of the old continent.

The participants of the debate emphasised the role of Poland in the energy sector of the global economy. Deputy Prime Minister Beata Szydło, drew attention to the situation of large companies that have branches in Poland:

We need global corporations that will be able to use their potential with us. However, these companies must understand that while working on the Polish market they must also adapt to us: provide the same good remuneration as in other countries, pay taxes and use Polish products in the production process. This is the key to success and understanding – she said.


Focus on innovation

The Startup Session Elite was organised this year for the second time in Krynica. 21 startups presented their ideas at the stands in the Economic Accelerator Zone, pitched in the Zone of the Polish Development Fund and held numerous business meetings with conference participants. This year’s edition of Startup Session has been significantly expanded compared to last year’s, among others thanks to the funding received from the Ministry of Investment and Development, the path partner. As part of it, four panels on startup issues and new technologies were organised: “Investing in startups – how to do it wisely?”; “Polish startups in the global race – do we have a chance?”; “Knowledge and innovation the key to success – can business be learned?” and “Car or hyperloop? What is the future of transport?”

Bo Ji, Vice-Dean of Global Executive Education and Chief Representative for Europe, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, gave a speech on Unicorn or Dragon – how to enter the Chinese market?

The title of the Man of the Year 2017 for the Prime Minister of Lithuania

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis received the title of the Man of the Year 2017 during the gala on the second day of the 28th Economic Forum. The award was granted by the votes of the members of the Programme Board of the Economic Forum. Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland, spoke about the winner’s merits for the development of Poland and Lithuania and put a special emphasis on excellent cooperation with Orlen Lietuva and Lithuanian railways. In addition to the Man of the Year awards, statuettes were awarded in three other categories. The Polish Development Fund became the company of 2017. The best non-governmental organisation was the Polish Humanitarian Organisation, and the Stanisław Vincenz New Culture, New Europe award was given to maestro Krzysztof Penderecki.


Europe of the Carpathians. In a neighbouring group

Twelve discussion panels and the Carpathian awards gala were supposed to be – in a condensed form – a review of the most important challenges facing this part of the continent. During the panel “Neighbours of Europe or neighbours in Europe?”, initiated by Marek Kuchciński, the Speaker of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland, panellists talked about migration policy and neighbourhood policy. The directions of cooperation were discussed within the framework of the Three Seas Initiative panels – cooperation between European countries and Central Europe – infrastructure in reconstruction. A lot of attention was also devoted to security issues, which were taken into account in the discussions – How to ensure political security in Europe of the Carpathians? and the Eastern Shield of the Atlantic Alliance. During the Central Europe panels – A keystone of cultures – Christian foundations; and Karpacka oikouménē – how to save it for future generations? the need to maintain a common cultural heritage, which should be cultivated for the next generations, was emphasized.


Culture is the Polish ambassador to the World

Guests who came to Krynica to participate in the 28th Economic Forum had the opportunity to make use of a rich cultural events offer. Concerts of Balkan music, young Polish artists, book promotions, as well as historical and ethnographic exhibitions, and even a culinary show enriched the reality of the three days of the Forum in Krynica and were a perfect complement to the substantive part of the conference. Guests had the opportunity to see the original Ukrainian folk costumes from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, part of the collection “Heritage” gallery, listen to the Latvian jazz group Maris Briezkalns Jazz Quintet, whose concert was accompanied with the projection of paintings by Marek Rothka and the “informal ambassador” of Hungarian culture, ensemble Hungarian FolkEmbassy. The heart of the audience was stolen by Marko Marković, a virtuoso trumpeter and star of the musical trend called Balkan Brass. There were also some accents of the Lemko culture in a modern form – like culinary workshops run by Szymon Czerwiński, the participant of the MasterChef TVshow.

The organiser of the Economic Forum in Krynica-Zdrój is the Foundation Institute for Eastern Studies. The main partner is the Lesser Poland Voivodeship.