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The Warsaw Voice » Business » August 26, 2010
Talking About Europe
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Talking About Europe
August 26, 2010   
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Nearly 200 prominent politicians, businessmen, scientists and journalists from dozens of countries will take part in the 20th Economic Forum in Krynica, southern Poland, Sept. 8-11. They will discuss topics including the situation in Europe after the Lisbon Treaty.

The Economic Forum in Krynica, organized annually by the Eastern Studies Institute since 1991, is a major event in Central and Eastern Europe. It aims to create a welcoming climate for the development of political and economic ties between the European Union and its neighbors. Krynica is where the East meets West. Forum organizers say they invite all those who want to talk about the future, share their experiences and debate on how to build a safe Europe based on solidarity and the world’s most competitive economy.

Krynica is where important issues are discussed, such as development prospects for Central European stock exchanges, regional energy security and investment opportunities in the region. Each year the forum is covered by major Polish and international media outlets. For several years, over 400 journalists from more than 150 news organizations have attended the forum.

Le Monde and Le Soir newspapers have dubbed the high-profile meeting the “Davos of the East.”

The largest international news agencies, such as Reuters, Bloomberg, AFP and EFE, report on the forum, as do international dailies, such as the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, FAZ and Kommersant.

In the early days of the Economic Forum, Central and Eastern European guests prevailed. Later, guests from Western Europe and North America started to arrive. Last year’s forum attracted participants from nearly 60 countries. Zygmunt Berdychowski, who heads the Forum’s Program Council, says he expects almost 2,000 guests this year. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso plans to attend the plenary session that will open the Forum. Other prominent guests will include Jerzy Buzek, the president of the European Parliament; Maros Sefcovic, European Commission Vice-President for Inter-institutional Relations and Administration; Janusz Lewandowski, European Commissioner for Financial Programming and the Budget; Thomas de Maiziere, Germany’s Minister of the Interior; Aho Esko, Vice-President of Nokia Corporation of Finland; Jürgen Fitschen, a member of Deutsche Bank’s Group Executive Committee; Peter Tils, CEO for Central and Eastern Europe at Deutsche Bank AG; and Marc Coroler, Vice-President for Central Europe at Schneider Electric of France.

This year, the forum’s motto is, “Europe After Lisbon: Strategies for the Future.” This year is the first with the Lisbon Treaty in force. The process of the treaty’s negotiation and ratification was long and revealed many fears in EU countries. However, EU member countries are pinning new hopes on the treaty. The EU is expected to become more integrated to better respond to both external and internal challenges. The former include globalization, political changes, and the economic expansion of emerging markets; internal challenges, in turn, include social issues, the free market and a social market economy as well as political, social and energy security. Now is the time to translate the treaty’s provisions into specific solutions for Europe as a whole as well as for individual countries and regions.

The Lisbon Treaty calls for reforming EU institutions. It aims to reinforce local and regional governments’ role in the process of shaping of EU political strategies, and to bring the EU closer to a multi-level governance model. Under the treaty, the EU is expected to focus on the development of new technology, research and competitiveness. The treaty emphasizes the principle of subsidiarity and introduces the principle of energy solidarity. The treaty could generate opportunities for Poland and other Central and Eastern European countries provided they are more active politically. All these topics will be discussed during this year’s conference.

As every year, the conference agenda includes more than 100 debates divided into 10 sections, including two new ones: Innovation and Sustainable Development, and Healthcare. The forum will include five plenary sessions and more that 100 panel discussions divided into 11 subjects.

For several years, the Economic Forum in Krynica has featured numerous accompanying events. For example, the Investment Forum in Tarnów provides investors and financial institution officials with an opportunity to discuss investment opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe. The Forum of Regions, held in Krynica and Muszyna, mainly targets local governments. A new event, the Innovation Forum in Rzeszów, will be held for the first time this year. The organizers intend to attract businesspeople as well as government officials and parliamentarians from Poland and all of Central and Eastern Europe who are responsible for technology development and innovation and its promotion.

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