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The Warsaw Voice » Business » June 30, 2011
Business & Economy
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Katowice Hosts European Economic Congress
June 30, 2011   
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The 3rd European Economic Congress (EEC 2011) in the southern Polish city of Katowice drew about 6,800 guests and panelists, who debated some of the most pressing issues in contemporary Europe for three days, May 16-18. Four Central European prime ministers, Poland’s Donald Tusk, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, Croatia’s Jadranka Kosor, and the Czech Republic’s Petr Necas, shared their views on the future of the continent with those taking part in the event.

The congress was opened by Jerzy Buzek, president of the European Parliament and honorary chairman of the Patronage Council of the EEC 2011 Organizing Committee. Other speakers included Antonio Tajani, vice president of the European Commission and EU commissioner for industry and entrepreneurship; and Janusz Lewandowski, EU commissioner for budgetary and financial programming.

The congress attracted well-known politicians, economists, scientists and business executives from both Poland and other countries in Central and Western Europe. Managers from some of Poland’s largest companies formed the largest group.

The main topics discussed this year were the competitiveness of the European economy and energy policy and the climate package. All major industrial sectors from mining and metallurgy to chemicals and construction, and the automotive industry were represented during the congress. Local government officials and financiers also joined the debates. A meeting of healthcare professionals was held as an accompanying event.

Congress participants debated issues including the priorities of European economic policy and discussed the need for effective competition in global markets, in addition to the EU’s financial forecasts, and the experience of the latest economic crisis and its effect on the EU.

Lech Wa³êsa, the president of Poland in 1990-199, opened a panel discussion entitled “Eastern and Central Europe: Community of Interests, Challenges and Problems.” The panelists focused on the functioning of the regional economy and debated forecasts for development.

The latest report by the Central Eastern Europe Development Initiative (CEED), an international project that originated at last year’s European Economic Congress, was presented during the debate. The report analyzes the economic situation and offers an economic forecast for Central Europe.

The next session was dedicated to EU energy policy, including the climate-energy package and common EU energy policy.

On the second day, more than 10 sessions dedicated to the power industry were held. Those in attendance talked about the challenges and opportunities ahead of the Polish and European energy sectors, as well as issues related to the functioning and regulation of the Polish and European energy markets, EU energy security and renewable energy sources. There were also sessions focusing on the climate and energy package and the European gas transfer system, specifically the idea of the North-South gas corridor.

The main topic of the third day of the European Economic Congress was transport and infrastructure. Some of the new trends in the motor industry were also discussed, with a particular emphasis on e-mobility. Congress guests talked about the early days of green cars, the possible impact of electric cars on the development of the power industry and the fuel sector, and various technological, logistic, economic and legal barriers.

That day a number of panel discussions were also held on innovation in the context of ties between science and business. A strategy for an innovative EU was presented, together with Polish innovation strategies.

Another key topic of the second day of EEC 2011 was finance. In particular, participants discussed public finance, EU funds and regional development, the EU financial and banking systems, intelligent banking of the future, and local government finances. The last day of the congress also featured a discussion on the latest developments in world metallurgy and the development of steelyards in Poland as well as raw materials such as coke, coking coal, scrap and iron ores.

Treasury Minister Aleksander Grad presented the objectives of the government’s privatization program and summed up the government’s achievements in this area to date. Those taking part in the debate outlined their privatization plans for the next few months and discussed models of ownership changes in light of their recent experiences.

The Warsaw Voice was a media partner of EEC 2011.
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