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The Warsaw Voice » Business » November 3, 2015
Business & Economy
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New Ideas for Europe and the World
November 3, 2015   
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A total of 1,176 prominent businessmen, politicians, academics, figures in the arts and media professionals from 28 countries debated ways of solving some of the most pressing problems of today’s world during the European Forum for New Ideas (EFNI) conference in Poland’ s northern coastal resort of Sopot Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

The conference, which was held for fifth time, focused on topics such as new business models, ways of improving capitalism, developments in China, and European-Russian relations.

A panel discussion focusing on the future of the global economy was moderated by former Polish finance minister and foreign affairs minister Andrzej Olechowski, who blamed the financial crisis for upsetting the balance in the global economy. He also blamed the world’s politicians for failing to deal with the so-called Islamic State and for failing to resolve the conflict in Ukraine.

Henryka Bochniarz, head of Poland’s Lewiatan employers’ association, noted that Poland has managed to escape recession and is enjoying economic growth. She also said statistics show that inequalities in the country are diminishing and that the poor are becoming rich faster than the rich.

One of the key topics of this year’s conference was China. Conference participants debated the condition of the Chinese economy and examined forecasts for the future. They appealed for more reserve in judging statistics and developments in China in a situation in which bearish trends on the Chinese stock market are generating anxiety throughout the world.

The conference was also an opportunity to listen to U.S. economist Jeffrey Sachs, who once provided advice to Poland’s Leszek Balcerowicz when the latter was reforming the Polish economy during its transition from communism to a free market in the early 1990s. Today Sachs focuses on helping countries overcome poverty with the use of financial assistance and keeps appealing to wealthy states to take an active part in improving the condition of poorer nations. Addressing conference participants at the close of the event, Sachs said that back in 1991 “no one could imagine a united Europe, and today here I am, saying that we can unite the world.”

In all, the fifth European Forum for New Ideas brought together 1,176 guests from 28 countries. It featured five plenary sessions, 13 panel discussions and seven roundtables held for more than 68 hours in total. The conference was held in a venue built especially for the occasion on a beautiful Sopot beach.

Top international participants included Donald Tusk, President of the European Council; Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for the Energy Union; Alexander Manu, Professor at the Rotman Management School, University of Toronto; Salvatore Babones, Professor of Sociology at the University of Sydney; and Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief of Russia in Global Affairs.

Held in Sopot since 2011, the European Forum for New Ideas is organized by Poland’s Lewiatan employers’ association, the BusinessEurope European Business Confederation, the Sopot city authorities and a number of companies and institutions from Poland and abroad.
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