Photo by PTWP

The 9th European Economic Congress (10-12 May, Katowice) will be addressing issues of major importance to the future of Europe, revolutionary challenges in industry and on the job market, and dynamic changes in the geopolitical environment of the European economy.

Since 2009, the European Economic Congress (EEC) in Katowice has brought together business people, CEOs of leading companies, scientists and practitioners, decision-makers with a real impact on social and economic life, as well as politicians and experts from Poland, Europe and around the world.

The rank and magnitude of the event (more than 8 thousand guests attended last year) puts a positive pressure on the organizers to continually expand its formula but also to ensure the high quality and topicality of the more than one hundred debates and meetings.

“Our themes cover a broad spectrum of living issues and dilemmas that respond to our current reality”, emphasizes Wojciech Kuśpik, CEO of the PTWP Group and initiator of the EEC. “Thanks to our guests and partners, we are able to address not only current developments but also the trends and phenomena that are only now beginning to shape our future”.

The leading themes of the Congress

An event of this rank and magnitude must have an agenda informed by the analyses, conclusions and forecasts performed by a panel of consultants and experts. The programme is drafted several months before the beginning of the event and, due to the dynamic changes in the modern economy, its contents need to be frequently adjusted.

With a high degree of certainty, however, we can already announce the leading themes that will be addressed by the panel debates and discussions of this year’s Congress.

The debate on the crisis of the liberal economic doctrine has been underway since 2008, but it has taken on a new tone and importance in recent years. The question “if not economic freedom and the market, then what?” could be treated as purely rhetorical, but the voices that demand a revision of free-market values, an expansion of the mechanisms of supervision and control, and restrictions of freedom for the sake of security and stability can hardly be brushed aside.

In light of the call to “save capitalism from itself”, it seems necessary to reconsider concepts such as sustainable development and corporate responsibility. New answers must be given to the eternal question: how much state intervention in the economy? What duties and activities can and should the state take on? What would be the implications for the free market, economic freedom and the growth of entrepreneurship?

Corrections and alternative solutions are needed not only in the area of economic liberalism. The call to preserve the status quo is no longer heeded in Europe and the fractured EU lacks a clear vision of its own future. Europe inches towards populism and isolationism. What will be the impact of these processes on business conditions and the likelihood of social and economic growth? How will the face of the European economy change after Brexit? What is the future for the European cohesion policy? These are some of the issues to be addressed within this broad theme.

We are well aware that previous drivers of economic growth have now been exhausted. It is therefore important to ask more questions about the future growth model for Europe, about its energy security and raw material sovereignty, about practical rather than merely declared reindustrialization, and about how to build industries based on knowledge and innovation.

In the centre of economic life

The Congress has always focused on the issue of man as the centre and subject of economic life, the free market and the job market, but never quite to the extent that it will this year. And no wonder. Social expectations of the economy change at a rapid pace, and so do the models of relationships between employers and employees. The fast-changing job market welcomes new generations (X, Y, Z) whose names are already threatening to use up all the letters of the alphabet.

Attracting brain power and sought-after skills, forward-looking education with the job market in mind, and the ability to cooperate – these are key issues for the development of businesses and the economy and the areas of particular concern to employers, business people and responsible politicians today.

Entrepreneurship and creativity, still the province of the private sector, will be at the centre of our focus this year. Entrepreneurs, investors and managers, the true leaders of economic life, who have long formed the core of our participants, must have the opportunity to voice their ambitions and aspirations, identify the main barriers that put a brake on their activities, and define (or redefine) the set of values and principles that inform the scope and quality of their achievements.

The European Economic Congress will once again resume the European Start-up Days, allowing young entrepreneurs to demonstrate how unconventional solutions and ideas can change the face of the world and its economy. One more time, young leaders, university students and graduates interested in public and economic life will participate in the Congress and its debates on an equal footing with widely-recognized experts.

Details of the agenda

The Congress continues to be open to the non-European interests and aspirations of Polish and Central European companies. Economic cooperation forums this year will focus on business contacts with the countries of Africa and Asia. Katowice will welcome politicians and entrepreneurs from China, Japan, Vietnam, Israel and Kazakhstan.

A preliminary outline of the themes of this year’s European Economic Congress is available at eecpoland.eu.

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