“Recovery Plan for Europe. National Recovery Plan. Strategy for the Carpathian Region”- a panel discussion with the participation of Minister Konrad Szymański

The pandemic created numerous socio-economic challenges for the countries of our region. However, the European and National Reconstruction Plans also open up new perspectives for their development. How can regional cooperation help in this? 

Interstate economic cooperation in the Carpathian region has a long tradition. Currently, the Carpathian countries are trying to adopt a macro-regional strategy for this region at the EU level. The adoption of such a strategy is of additional importance in the context of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Recovery Fund (Next Generation EU) and the National Recovery Plans are the response of European Union countries to the new threats and challenges caused by the pandemic. Their main goal is to rebuild and restore the resilience of EU economies and to prepare for future unforeseen circumstances. How to use the newly created instruments to help such regions as the Carpathian Macroregion, which already had a number of problems hindering its development? How to best use EU funds to strengthen the competitiveness and attractiveness of the region and reduce the emigration of inhabitants by improving their quality of life?

The “Recovery Plan for Europe. National Recovery Plan. Strategy for the Carpathian Region”, attended by: Konrad Szymański, Minister for the European Union of the Republic of Poland; Małgorzata Jarosińska-Jedynak, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy; Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, Teresa Czerwińska; President of the Institute of Christian Social Policy, Ján Hudacký; MP of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, Peter Kremský (online) and Piotr Arak, Director of the Polish Economic Institute. The panel was moderated by the Vice President of the Management Board of Bank Pekao S.A., Jerzy Kwieciński.

– This recovery cannot be understood narrowly, we must be prepared for the next crises. – pointed out Minister Konrad Szymański – The Recovery Fund is planned for years. Therefore, Poland and other countries in the region receive a lot of funds from it.

The minister also referred to the main goal for which money from the Fund will be transferred – the energy transformation: – The costs of this transformation are getting higher and will continue to grow. This is a mistake of the last 15 years – we stalled for time, which results in a delay in this regard. The new financial perspective should, however, bring new opportunities.

Minister Małgorzata Jarosińska-Jedynak also drew attention to the second important element of the Carpathian strategy – innovation, expenditure on research and development: – The Carpathians are such an area where the activity of entrepreneurs should be stimulated, a stimulus is needed to create a Carpathian brand.

Such financial incentives can be provided by the European Investment Bank. – The current situation presents many challenges for the countries of the region, but on the other hand also many opportunities. Our role is to support these countries in taking advantage of these opportunities. – said Teresa Czerwińska.

The macroeconomic perspective was introduced to the discussion by the director of the Polish Economic Institute, Piotr Arak. He pointed out that, paradoxically, thanks to the pandemic, the position of Poland and other countries in the region on the economic map of the EU improved: – Our region is a part of the Union that requires the greatest support from the cohesion funds. Due to the economic backwardness, we need support, but the economic crisis after the pandemic has not affected us as much as other countries. Poland and Romania are the fastest developing countries in this pandemic period.