The history of Polish transformation is intrinsically linked to the history of Employers of Poland, who celebrate their 25th jubilee. An integral part of the jubilee celebrations is the two-day international conference “From transformation to globalization”, held at the National Stadium in Warsaw. President of the Republic of Poland Bronisław Komorowski assumed honorary patronage over the event.
The conference was intended to define key challenges for Polish economy and find a formula for its future successful development. Participants looked for answers to questions such as how to stimulate economic growth in Europe? How to use the experiences of Polish transformation in a manner beneficial for Europe as a whole? Where and how Polish entrepreneurs should look for growth and global expansion opportunities? What should be the role of future leaders?
In his opening speech, the President of Employers of Poland Andrzej Malinowski reminded that internationally recognized political scientist Francis Fukuyama assessed the Polish transformation as one of the biggest miracles of the twentieth century. – This miracle was a result of hard work. Its true heroes were Polish entrepreneurs. They have established a new social group which – as the next few years proved – has assumed responsibility for creating a free market reality in our country after 1989 – said President Malinowski. He also recalled the words of President Komorowski at this year’s Polish Economic Congress. President Komorowski said that while the employees and organizations representing them contributed decisively to Poland reclaiming its freedom, the credit for making good use of this freedom in economic terms should undoubtedly be given to entrepreneurs and employers.
President Malinowski stressed that Employers of Poland have accompanied Polish entrepreneurs in their efforts to overcome the challenges of political and economic changes from the very beginning, serving as their support and representation.
Olgierd Dziekoński, secretary of state in the Chancellery of the President of Poland underlined the strong internationalization of Polish economy. – We are starting to shape a global market, which requires attention, consideration and courage in undertaking reforms, including those which will have an impact on the functioning of companies – said Dziekoński. In his opinion, words such as innovation and competitiveness should be fixtures in the debate on Poland’s future.
– In the coming years, Poland’s success will be measured by adaptation to processes related to globalization – said Guy Ryder, Director General of the International Labour Organization and reminded that Poland was less affected by the economic countries than many other countries. What is more, he sees potential for further growth. He drew attention to the necessity of creating jobs for young people.
– Poland’s history in the last 25 years can be characterized in one sentence: form tragedy to triumph – said Jørgen Rønnest, Deputy Chairman of the International Organization of Employers. He underlined the uniqueness of the transformation Poland underwent from a centrally planned economy to an important element of global economy. – Your growth rate is the fastest in Europe; Polish economy is seen as potentially one of the 20 best economies in the world. Poland is now experiencing another golden age and Employers of Poland played a key role in this. Without you Poland would be very different – concluded Rønnest.
Jacek Krawczyk of the European Economic and Social Committee recognized the role of Employers in the EU. – The competitiveness of Polish economy is key. It is a fundament that will either strengthen the continent or be a cause of serious problems – said Krawczyk. – The Polish path to global economy is also very important and it leads through euro – he opined.
Witold Orłowski lauded the great success we have achieved in the last 25 years, but acknowledged we have not completely avoided mistakes. Waldemar Pawlak agreed with him. – We surprised everybody, ourselves included – said the former PM. – What are the guidelines for the future? Poland should be a representative of Eastern and Central Europe. We need to focus on developing sectors with high added value – Pawlak said.
– Freedom, democracy and entrepreneurship – these are my associations with the last 25 years – said former PM Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz. He reminded that Poland still had inadequate regulations for SMEs. – This still baffles me; for years everybody has been saying that the situation is bad and it is still getting worse. This results from the weakness of the Ministry of Finance which is creating obstacles for the development of Polish entrepreneurship. Another weakness is that Polish universities do not educate Polish elites – stated Marcinkewicz.
Apart from that, the panelists discussed the direction in which Europe should go in order to be competitive on a global market. – We are now in the midst of a heated debate on whether Europe should be more centralized or not. I am under the impression that, sadly, the latter option is increasingly popular. Sadly, as in my opinion only a unified Europe has a chance to develop – said former PM Leszek Miller.
Patron of the conference