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The Warsaw Voice » Business » March 31, 2015
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Welconomy Forum
March 31, 2015   
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Nearly 2,000 politicians, businessmen and academics flocked to the north-central city of Toruń March 2-3 for the city’s 22nd annual economic conference, which was held under the new name of Welconomy Forum this year.

The Toruń event is one of the largest economic conferences in Poland, providing a venue for discussion about the shape of the Polish economy in a globalized world.

The conference provides opportunities for officials and businessmen to establish new contacts, make important declarations, and come forward with new initiatives. It fosters debate between economists and business practitioners, and it also enables businesses to showcase their products and services as well as to seek new opportunities.

The conference and its panel discussions focused on the current problems of Poland and Europe, with a special emphasis on the European Union’s Eastern Partnership initiative targeted at countries beyond Poland’s eastern border. Central and local government officials and businessmen with a key influence on the economic situation in Poland and Europe met during the forum.

Conference participants discussed ways of building a free market economy more quickly and efficiently. They also pondered how to overcome economic difficulties and avoid mistakes in building a modern state based on the rule of law.

“We are facing some very important economic decisions today and it’s high time to start a constructive discussion on the future of Poland and Europe,” said Jacek Janiszewski, chairman of the policy board of the Integracja i Współpraca (Integration and Cooperation) association, which organizes the forum. “We need to start developing new solutions together. On the one hand, we have the ongoing recession in the European economy, which has lasted several years; on the other, we have to make binding decisions about Poland’s entry to the eurozone and on the EU’s new financial perspective for 2014-2020. All these topics are of great importance to the future of the Polish economy.”

A special focus of this year’s conference was innovation in the Polish economy. Polish companies are among the least innovative in the European Union, conference participants said. Key barriers include high research costs and the business community’s reluctance to take risks related to new technology. “It is important that we create space for investment, launch new technology, and reindustrialize Poland, because the more industry we have, the more resilient we will be to crisis,” said Jerzy Buzek, a former prime minister of Poland who now chairs the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy.

During the conference, there was also a lot of talk about possible team-ups between Polish companies and business partners in Ukraine and about the implications of the Russian embargo for the Polish economy.
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