EEC 2020

One day, eight debates, over 700 guests from Poland and abroad, discussions, conclusions, and opinions - the EEC Trends conference was held in Warsaw on Tuesday, 25 February 2020. Entrepreneurs, experts and decision-makers worked on the final shape of the thematic agenda of the 12th European Economic Congress (EEC) in Katowice, which will be held on 18-20 May 2020.

The EEC Trends began with an opening session on macroeconomic issues. The participants answered questions about how to prepare for a rainy day in the economy, what to do to bring the Polish economy to a higher level, and how to wisely conduct the energy transition in the Polish power industry.

‘The Polish economy is increasingly linked to the global economy. We follow its trends, trying to actively react to unfavourable changes by offering legislative solutions and planning large public investments, which will allow Poland to go through a time of global economic slowdown unaffected’, said Jadwiga Emilewicz, the Polish Minister of Development during the opening session of the EEC Trends conference. ‘A number of phenomena that took place in 2019 allow us to be optimistic about the unfavourable factors coming from the outside. Last year, we achieved a 4% GDP growth, which was the fourth such high rate among EU countries. In 2019, the expenditure on research and development significantly increased, the number of entities investing in R&D increased by 15 per cent, and the number of researchers working in that sector for the benefit of enterprises increased by 11 per cent’, said the minister.

Other guests who were given the floor included: Joanna Erdman, Vice-President, ING Bank Śląski; Piotr Arak, Director, Polish Economic Institute (PIE); Wojciech Kamieniecki, Director, The National Centre for Research and Development (Narodowe Centrum Badań i Rozwoju); Piotr Dardziński, President, Łukasiewicz Research Network; Radosław Cieślak, Industry Executive Manager, Autodesk; Natalia Hatalska, Founder & CEO, infuture.institute; Mirosław Kowalik, CEO, Enea; and Sebastian Szymanek, CEO, Polpharma Biuro Handlowe.

During the EEC Trends, there were also discussions on infrastructure investments in the area of energy security. During a one-to-one conversation, Igor Wasilewski, CEO of PERN, argued that the consumption of fuels produced from crude oil will fall within the next two or three decades, but for the time being there is a prospect of stable business for PERN. ‘We support the development of electromobility, but the heyday of oil is not yet over. However, to ensure that stability, the company must invest. First of all, in the expansion of its infrastructure’, he said.

The agenda of the EEC Trends also included topics related to the idea of sustainable development and environment-friendly solutions in the economy.

Simplification of the verification and application procedure, and making it possible to apply for co financing online - these are the most important changes to be introduced in the ‘Clean Air’ programme, which were announced during the EEC Trends by Piotr Woźny, President of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management. Local governments are to take active part in the verification of income. Increased funding for heat source replacement will be granted on the basis of income certificates issued by municipal or communal social welfare centres. ‘What prolonged the procedures and “clogged up” the regional environmental protection funds was the dependence of the allocated funds on income. The funds had to verify the individuals who submitted applications - without having appropriate tools to do so, such as access to databases. The first change will be that applications in the so-called basic group will be granted on the basis of income statements. The verification will be handled later, with the help of tax authorities’, he explained.

Jerzy Buzek, former Prime Minister of Poland and Member of the European Parliament - during an EEC Trends thematic session entitled ‘Energy transition - main directions and conditions’ - discussed the European Green Deal in the context of taking responsibility for the entire planet. In his opinion, it is the duty of human civilisation that Europe shows the world it is possible to reduce CO2 emissions; that it is possible to depart from fossil fuels; that it is possible to maintain the economy at a high level despite doing the former; that it is possible to maintain the current level of employment; and that it is possible for Europe to continue to be the most attractive continent for billions of people around the world. ‘They tend to go to Europe, not even so much to the United States. We are the Promised Land for billions of people and we want to show that by saving the planet, we will remain that Promised Land’, concluded Jerzy Buzek.

The debates of the EEC Trends were arranged so that each of them corresponded to one of the mega-trends: Green, Tech, Energy, Move, Invest and Work/Edu. At the same time, these will be the main subject areas of the European Economic Congress held in Katowice in May. Conclusions from selected discussions were displayed on a screen in real time in the form of visual notes created by Magda Rysuje, a visual artist.

The event was accompanied by the WNP Awards gala. The awards were intended for those who exert a significant and groundbreaking impact on positive economic transformations across a variety of sectors and industries, and who keep indicating directions of development of the economy. The winners of the WNP Awards 2020 included: Michał Kurtyka, Minister of Climate, Poland; the ‘Mój Prąd’ Programme; PKP Energetyka; Moya - Anwim’s chain of petrol stations; Polish software houses; FBSerwis; Erbud; LPP; and Maspex.

The EEC Trends is an event preceding the 12th European Economic Congress in Katowice - the largest economic event in Central Europe - that will take place at the International Congress Centre and the Spodek Arena in Katowice on 18-20 May 2020. For the fifth time, the event will be accompanied by the European Tech and Start-up Days.

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