The organizer of the European Economic Congress – PTWP Group – released the most interesting statements of panelists taking part in the this year’s edition of the event.
Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland:
The Polish government will do its utmost on the European and national forums so that the need to rehabilitate coal mining and to build the energy independence is reflected in the decisions, which must be taken also with the use of state, financial and organizational tools. Not because of pressures of one or another occupational group, or because we are told to do so by any doctrine, but because today every politician who is responsible for the community must take practical steps to provide its energy security.
The question for today is not where the energy comes from or how much it costs but how much of our energy we are able to produce. It must be competitive of course. The Polish energy cannot be much more expensive than the Eastern one. However, we should be under no illusion – like military and political security, the energy security must cost some money.
Reindustrialization and climate policy
Janusz Piechociński, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of the Republic of Poland:
It is very important that the vision of respecting the climate, that is also an economic value, is an industry-friendly vision. Before acceding to the mega zone we want 25 percent share, and not 22 percent share, of industry in our GDP. That is our objective.
Jerzy Buzek, Member of the European Parliament, former Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland and Chairman of the European Parliament, Honorary Chairman of the Patronage Council of the EEC
The Europe 2020 strategy provides for the need to build a totally new industry and a new industrial policy based on innovation. We are seeking to balance the climate policy. We have overregulated the European Union, everybody knows that. So far we have managed to make the climate policy less stringent, but not enough. We have a lot to do to that extent.
Industry should be modern. It cannot be a risk to the environment and health, which does not mean that industry may develop without coal or without the care for energy.
Maciej Grabowski, Minister of Environment of the Republic of Poland:
The very intensive work over the mid-term and long-term EU energy and climate policy is underway. New terms appear in the discussions, such as costs, competitiveness and security of supply. That has not been an issue before. Based on that we build our negotiating position, which will be realistic, constructive and take account of the Polish interests.
Dariusz Lubera, CEO of Tauron Polska Energia:
New investments in the electricity sector in Poland are nothing else but reindustrialisation. But can it still be carried out? It will not be easy unless the climate policy objectives are revised. I hope that the new European Commission will recognise reindustrialisation in Europe as its objective.
Marek Woszczyk, CEO of PGE:
Reindustrialisation is a great news for the energy business as it means nothing else but a potential for growing demand for electricity i.e. the product manufactured by energy corporations. Reindustrialisation, which is a return to a relevant level of industrialisation, will not happen naturally. It will come when the industry will be willing to invest in Europe. Today an average EU company pays 20 percent more for electricity than it would pay in China, 65 percent more than in India, twice as much as it would pay in the US and, if we believe Russian statistics, also twice as much as it would pay in Russia. It shows that today Europe is not a territory of cheap energy. Therefore, is industry able to locate and invest here? Will the output in the industrial sector generate sufficient margins to reinvest the funds it has earned and attract industry to Europe?
EU – US Trade Agreement
Ignacio Garcia Bercero, EU chief negotiator on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP):
Those are probably the most important negotiations conduced by the EU. Why have we decided to launch them? Firstly, because we are convinced that the negotiated agreement will bring a growth both in the EU and in the US. According to our estimates, GDP may increase by three percent in consequence of the agreement. Secondly, that is a historic opportunity for the EU and the US. Both systems may operate better together. It will not be easy to integrate their interests. However, the cooperation may improve the quality of the lawmaking process. Thirdly, owing to the signed agreement, the US and the EU will be able to exercise global influence on the production of standards and laws. All of that is important, taking account of the meaning of the global economic governance. The possibility of joint influence will be also significant for economic interests of the US and the EU.
Dan Mullaney, US chief negotiator on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP):
The US and the EU are economies that already cooperate very closely. Why do we spend so much time talking about the need to enhance cooperation? Because both parties will benefit from it – I mean jobs, a growth in the number of jobs and higher salaries. What do we want to achieve? We will strive to eliminate some tariffs or taxes that have an adverse effect on trade. When mentioning trade relations I do not mean trade in commodities only. Services are significant as well and require more active policy. For example, certification is very important. It happens that despite very restrictive US laws, our products must be re-certified in the EU. The problem refers to the European products in the US as well. If we are able to solve such issues during the negotiations the regulation system will be better, and that will bring specified benefits.
Howard Chase, Director of Government Affairs, Dow Europe:
We are very interested in the outcome of the EU-US negotiations. Even though customs tariffs are not high, at a high volume of sales they become a significant cost item. It is also important that the double certification may be avoided. Relevant savings can be applied towards more productive activities.
Josh Rice, Technology Sales and Licensing, Worldwide Public Sector Director of Microsoft:
Harmonisation of trading rules between the EU and the US would be a measurable relief. Microsoft transforms into a service company and therefore we are very closely watching the provisions on services.
Paweł Olechnowicz, CEO of the Lotos Group:
The free trade discussions between the United States and the European Union have been conducted for nine years now. It seems that there is a lot of interesting refined ideas of regulations. However, should we discuss for another two, five or seven years, we will over discuss the subject.
Energy, common energy market
Jan Kulczyk, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Kulczyk Investments:
We cannot allow a situation in which with a theoretically common energy policy the price of energy in the EU is the highest in the world. It should not be the case that in the US 1 MWh costs EUR 67, and in the EU it costs EUR 171. It seems to me that there is one reason for all these problems, and namely that in the EU we still have 28 national energy policies.
Mari Kiviniemi, Prime Minister of Finland in the years 2010-2011:
I would like to strongly encourage to implement to the full extent the provisions and regulations that are already agreed upon but that are still not fully implemented. What happens now in Russia and Ukraine is a kind of a warning. For the EU energy security all member states should, among others, improve their energy efficiency and energy savings. We should also promote the use of RES and research of new technologies in that field.
Ian Brzezinski, Atlantic Council:
One of the outcomes of the Crimea crisis will be the emergence of new levels of cooperation in the field of energy. I think that in this respect the proposal of Donald Tusk to form the energy union is extremely important. This may give rise to the discussion in Europe on how we can better coordinate energy policy and how the EC as a European government may have a stronger role to play in formulating and exercising common energy policy.
Jaroslav Neverovič, Minister of Energy of Lithuania:
We should get down to actions, go from words to deeds, start to develop a real common energy market in the EU. We should implement what we have already agreed upon. The reports that we developed during the Lithuanian presidency clearly show that all legal requirements are satisfied. We should complete the implementation of the third energy package, isolate transmission operators so that all companies have equal access to the market, we should harmonise the rules for the operation of those markets, improve energy effectiveness and use natural resources we have in Europe.
Pavel Cyrani, Board Member of ČEZ:
Energy investments in Europe do not grow at all, we may already witness an underinvestment. Supplies in some regions are insufficient. There is no common European approach to that issue. Each state solves its own problems by itself. What does that mean for markets in 2030? I am sure that we have to balance the competitiveness in the energy sector and the security of supply.
Zoltán Cséfalvay, Minister of State in the Ministry of National Economy of Hungary:
The government of Hungary agrees with the position of the government of the Republic of Poland that each EU member state should create its own energy mix dependent on internal circumstances. The price of electricity in the US is half of the average price in the EU and the price of natural gas is by 2/3 lower. There are two reasons for such a significant disproportion. The first one is internal regulations of the EU, including the implemented climate and energy policy. The second one is sources of supply of energy-producing raw material. To say it politely, energy prices in the EU are not correct and they are effected by e.g. government subsidies to RES.
Global expansion of Polish companies
Herbert Wirth, CEO of KGHM Polska Miedź:
The reason of our foreign investments was first of all product diversification. We make our money on copper and silver but we also want to enter into platinum, palladium and nickel, which simply do not occur in Poland. The other reason of going outside Poland was a will to diversify the sources of income. We had to create much more liquid assets than the ones we have in the country. Besides, costs that KGHM generates beyond Poland are significantly lower than in the country. The Sierra Gorda Project in Chile will be implemented in the record time of four years while it would probably take twice as much time to launch a similar production in the Polish circumstances.
Krzysztof Niemiec, Deputy CEO of Track Tec:
Companies aim first of all at exporting their products or services to other markets but later on a capital injection may prove necessary. Our production requires homologation, which is so complicated and time consuming that to effectively enter the German market we had to buy a facility in Leuna.
Katarzyna Kacperczyk, Deputy Prime Minister of Foreign Affairs:
The Go Africa Programme has mobilised not only the government spheres. Last year we could see growing interest in African states on the part of Polish entrepreneurs, both in the area of trade and investments. The interest of African states in cooperation with Polish companies is also visible. I think that we will use that opportunity to restore our relations with African states. Old friends, like e.g. Libya, return and new ones, like e.g. Togo, appear.
Dariusz Bogdan, Deputy Prime Minister of Economy of the Republic of Poland:
If we were to evaluate our relations on a statistical, year over year basis, then in 2013 and in the first half of 2014 we witnessed an undeniable success, for the volume of trade between Poland and Africa increased by 20-22%, whereas the export from Poland to Africa grew by over 30 percent. It is a very good result.
Kamel Bennaceur, Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining of Tunisia:
In the last three years cooperation between Tunisia and Central Europe improved significantly. Tunisia may export many commodities to Poland and offer tourist services but it also hopes for investors from Poland in such sectors as energy or mining.
Essossimna Legzim-Balouki, Minister of Trade and Private Sector Development of the Togolese Republic:
We may offer significant investing opportunities to Polish companies e.g. in mining industry, agriculture but also in communication. Today a foreign investor may create an enterprise overnight in Togo and we offer all safeguards for such enterprise.
European funds in a new perspective
Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Infrastructure and Development:
A great effort has already been done to make the Polish infrastructure catch up with the Western standards. Until 2020 Poland needs to have a complete network of fast road connections, especially that the EU budget for 2014-2020 will be the last so large injection of EU funds for us. Major infrastructural investments are the driving force of the labour market and the anti-crisis mechanism for the economy.
Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy:
The objective of the Community is to blur the differences in the level of the European transport infrastructure, created in consequence of the political division of Europe after the World War II. During the past seven years EU subsidised investments in the transport infrastructure with EUR 82 billion, where half of that amount was allocated to the TEN-T network, thus significantly enhancing its quality and safety. The objective for the current EU budget is to supplement missing road connections. However, the sole infrastructure will not bring about an economic growth in Europe. Investments in innovation and the development of enterprise are equally important.
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László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion:
The situation in the European labour market has been improving gradually. Some better news are expected in the second half of the year. Positive indicators are connected with delayed effects of remedy actions in the euro area. The 2012 interventions of the European Central Bank moved to the real economy last year and now their first effects are visible in the labour market.
Rafał Trzaskowski, Minister of Administration and Digitisation:
Ten year ago when we were acceding to the European Union only 5 percent of Poles shopped online, today 30 percent of Poles make shopping through the Internet. In the last decade the number of Poles with online access at home almost tripled. E-commerce is a quite interesting measure of what is going on in the economy, it is correlated e.g. with inflation – the higher the inflation the higher growth in e-commerce.
Lech Wałęsa, President of the Republic of Poland in the years 1990-1995:
If we want to create larger structures, and we must create such, we have to ask a question which key subjects require expanded structures and which do not. Which of them use continental structures and which use global ones? If we manage to highlight those issues and obtain their initial approval by the interested parties it would be easier to decide how to put those plans in place.
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The European Economic Congress in Katowice is organized by the PTWP Group. During three days of the Congress, filled with over a hundred thematic sessions and numerous accompanying events, discussions focused on subjects that are crucial to the economy of Poland, Europe and the world. This was the 6th edition of the most important business event in Central Europe.
text source: press office of the EEC