The Warsaw Voice » Business » Monthly - September 30, 2015
Business & Economy
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New Ideas for Europe Debated
   
An international crowd of prominent businessmen, politicians, academics, figures in the arts and media professionals will descend on Poland’s northern coastal resort of Sopot to debate inequality, geopolitical threats, radicalism and other challenges facing Europe today at this year’s European Forum for New Ideas (EFNI) conference from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.

Conference participants will discuss challenges confronting Europe’s leaders and will also attempt to determine whether Europe needs new ideas. More than 50 debates will be held as part of the conference. Their common theme will be “the renewal of the West and the challenges facing today’s Europe.”

The first plenary session—“End of Post-Cold War Illusions: Does Europe Need a New Order?”—will deal with how Europe should respond to global geopolitical turmoil.

Participants will include Andrzej Klesyk, CEO of insurer PZU; international affairs analyst Judy Dempsey; Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs; Norbert Rottgen, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German parliament (the Bundestag); Eugene Rumer, director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and Maros Sefcovic, vice president of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union.

A session entitled “Market, But What Kind of Market? What Should Be the Strategy of the New Single European Market?” will focus on the EU single market and identify areas for improvement. An introductory speech will be given by Jerzy Buzek, chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, who also chairs the EFNI Program Council. Panel discussion participants will include Wojciech Szpil, CEO of Totalizator Sportowy; Roland Freudenstein, deputy director of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies; and Dan Mullaney, assistant U.S. trade representative for Europe and the Middle East.

Those taking part in the “New Business Models for New Times” debate will include Jacek Krawiec, CEO of Polish fuel giant PKN Orlen; Alexander Manu, strategic innovation advisor and a professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management; Piotr Moncarz, a consulting professor at Stanford University and a special guest of this year’s conference; and Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York and one of the architects of Poland’s transition from communism to a free market in the early 1990s.

At the conference’s last plenary session, panelists will debate ways of “fixing” capitalism and ponder why capitalism “fails to satisfy most societies” in its present form. Other questions will include “Why is social stratification as strong today as it was at the beginning of the previous century?” and “Why are there more and more young people without any prospects?

Views on ways of reforming capitalism will be voiced by experts including Fernando Frutuoso de Melo, head of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Development Cooperation; Ondrej Liska, country director for the Czech Republic at Ashoka, a worldwide network of social entrepreneurs; Maria Morris, executive vice president of MetLife; Peter E. Ohser, vice president of MoneyGram International Inc.; and Thomas Pogge, a German philosopher and a professor at Yale University.

Held every year 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.