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The Warsaw Voice » Business » August 29, 2012
Economic Forum
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Europe and the World Confronting the Crisis
August 29, 2012   
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New Visions for Hard Times: Europe and the World Confronting the Crisis is the title of this year’s annual Economic Forum in the southern Polish spa town of Krynica-Zdrój. The event, organized by the Institute for Eastern Studies foundation, will be held for the 22nd time Sept. 4-6.

The central theme of this year’s Forum revolves around recurring questions about the best economic model for the world at a time of financial and economic crisis. The Krynica-Zdrój conference is one of the most important meetings of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe. It regularly attracts presidents, prime ministers, ministers, economists and businesspeople from Europe and beyond. They meet to hold discussions, make important declarations, take new initiatives and establish business contacts.

Influential analytical centers focusing on both global problems—such as international security and the economic and social implications of globalization—and regional cooperation and local politics have also made a major contribution to the conference. Among the event’s partners are institutions such as the Center for Transatlantic Relations, the Razumkov Center, European Forum Alpbach, Lo Spazio della Politica, NATO Watch, Open Europe, Oxford Research Group, the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, and the Center for Economic and Social Development.

New approach
The financial crisis, which began at the end of last decade, provoked a debt crisis in southern Europe. Experts say crises are becoming a permanent feature of our times, motivating policymakers to constantly look for better solutions. The changing reality means policymakers have to reconsider their goals and make the right decisions. This new situation calls for a new economic policy model based on new rules.

The development model of Europe as a political bloc is also in crisis, according to some experts. The retreat of democracy in countries beyond the European Union’s eastern border and the social revolution in North Africa prompt questions about relations with these regions and the essence of democratic values.

Another challenge is the proliferation of social networks that respond to the decisions and policies of governments in their own ways—on the basis of their own criteria rather than standards imposed from above. A new form of participation in a nation’s life is emerging. The question is how this new trend will influence politics. Will it put an end to the situation in which political leaders seek to assert their domination by manipulating information and will a model of democracy based on broad social consensus be revived? Or are we perhaps facing populist attempts to secure advantages for specific groups in society at the expense of others? There are still no answers to many of these questions. A broad debate is needed. And the Economic Forum will provide an excellent opportunity to hold such a debate, and share experiences, views and proposals, according to the event’s organizers.

During the Forum, politicians, businesspeople, and officials representing international financial institutions and research centers will take part in 140 panel discussions and a number of special events divided into several groups of topics. These include Business and Management, Macroeconomics, International Politics, International Security, Forum of Regions, NGO Forum and Society, Energy Forum, New Economy, The European Union and Its Neighbors, State and Reforms, Healthcare Forum, Innovations and Sustainable Development, and Presentations and Special Events. There will also be a range of accompanying events such as Investment Forum in Tarnów, the Forum of Regions in Muszyna, and the Economic Forum of Young Leaders in Nowy S±cz.

Heavy hitters
For many years the political situation in Central and Eastern Europe as well as the region’s economic problems have been among the central issues discussed at the Economic Forum in Krynica-Zdrój. This year, the list of officials expected to take part in the conference includes Janusz Lewandowski, former Polish government minister and now EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and the Budget; Ilze Vinkele, the welfare minister of Latvia; Miroslav Lajcak, Slovak deputy prime minister and foreign minister; Tibor Navracsics, Hungary’s deputy prime minister and minister of public administration and justice; Valeriy Khoroshkovsky, first deputy prime minister of Ukraine; Petro Poroshenko, Ukrainian trade and economic development minister; Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, head of the Polish prime minister’s Economic Council; Vazil Hudak, Slovak deputy finance minister; Peter Chase, Senior European Representative at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Gabriel Bernardino, chairman of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority; Andrzej Jakubiak, president of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority; László Balogh, vice-president of the Hungarian Financial Supervision Authority; Mark Le Gross Allen, the International Monetary Fund’s Senior Regional Representative for Central and Eastern Europe; Alastair Teare, CEO of Deloitte Central Europe; Reiner Martin of the European Central Bank; and Ivan Miklos, former Slovak finance minister.
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