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The Warsaw Voice » Business » July 1, 2009
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European Solidarity
July 1, 2009   
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Zygmunt Berdychowski, chairman of the Program Council of the Economic Forum in Krynica, talks to Andrzej Ratajczyk.

Since it was first held by Instytut Wschodni (Eastern Institute) 19 years ago, the Economic Forum in Krynica has earned a reputation as one of the most important meetings for politicians, businesspeople, academics and media from European countries, Central and Eastern Europe in particular. What topics will be discussed in Krynica this September?
The leading theme of this year's debates is "European Solidarity-20 Years After the Revolution." It is supposed to encourage the participants to engage in a discussion on the present situation of EU member states, trying to find out if the countries have been helping one another and how. It is also an opportunity to assess the two decades of political and economic transformations and to come up with forecasts for the next couple of years as well as a more distant future.

There is also a second meaning to the leading theme, one of European solidarity with our neighbors, including Ukraine, Belarus and other countries in the region, which have sustained considerable losses as a result of the economic crisis. These countries are looking up to the EU, hoping to receive not only some good advice, which of course is important, but also assistance in solving the difficult problems they are trying to cope with. The key question here is whether Europe, Poland included, is ready to share its resources with impoverished neighbors like it did 20 years ago when the transformations began.

Besides, it is also worth considering the condition of Europe today, after two decades of dynamic changes. It is time to ask how old EU member states-which formed a group of stable and affluent countries-have been affected by the accession of Poland and other countries from the region. And to look at how the process has changed the nations which became part of the wealthy Europe.

The world has been struck by the most serious financial crisis in decades. Polish companies and institutions are increasingly affected. Will this year's Economic Crisis in Krynica be different in terms of organization and subject matter because of the crisis?
Definitely. Now that the whole world has been talking about a crisis, it is hard not to take this into account while organizing an event like the economic forum. This is a huge challenge for us and if, despite the crisis, we manage to come up with a well-organized event that draws as much attention and as many participants as in previous years, then we will consider ourselves enormously successful. The global crisis and all its implications for the financial services sector and the economy will be reflected in a wide range topics discussed during the forum.

How many people and from what countries will take part in this year's Economic Forum?
Last year, the forum and the accompanying Investment Forum, Forum of Regions and Forum of Young Leaders were attended by almost 2,000 people. It would be a huge success if we managed to draw a similar number of participants this year.
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