Programme of the Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
By Krystyna Gurbiel, Member of the Management Board of PSDB – a WYG Group policy research company in Poland. read more
By Wojciech Słowiński, Director, Advisory Department, PwC read more
Poland’s foreign minister, Radosław Sikorski, addressed BPCC members at a breakfast held in the British Embassy in Warsaw on the eve of the Polish EU presidency. read more
Programme of the Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union 1st July - 31 December
The European Union is changing at a pace and scope not seen for a long time. The economic crisis the underlying cause of these changes has also demonstrated the strength of European integration. By pulling together, Europe has overcome the shock wave of the crisis. The European Union is still facing enormous challenges. Our societies are ageing, the model of the welfare state needs to be changed and economic growth, stifled by crisis, puts additional pressure on public finances.
Europe also needs to focus more on the international situation and take coherent measures as the economic and political importance of other regions of the world continues to rise. The European Union should act with determination in relations with its neighbours. The European Union’s operations need to be put on a more stable footing, aligned with the new treaty framework. Further practical implementation of the Lisbon Treaty provisions will take place in the second half of 2011. The Polish Presidency will venture into new areas where – pursuant to the Lisbon Treaty provisions – the European Union has more scope for engagement. www.pl2011.eu
EU Budget for 2014-2020 – continuity or change?
By Krystyna Gurbiel, Member of the Management Board of PSDB – a WYG Group policy research company in Poland
Two and a half years before the starting date of the new financial perspective of the European Union, official discussions regarding the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) have started with the publication of the European Commission’s proposal in June 2011.
The proposal is called A budget for Europe 2020, the title pointing clearly to the Europe 2020 Strategy, approved by the Heads of States and Governments of EU countries in June 2010. The future EU budget should be therefore seen as an instrument directly and actively supporting the goals of the EU 2020 strategy. This direction is heavily stressed in the documents accompanying the budget proposal, presenting key points concerning the main EU policies and the background underpinning the Commission’s approach to the new financial framework of the EU. This would indicate a change in the approach to budget planning: the EU budget for 2007 – 2013 has not really been linked to the Lisbon Strategy, which was at the time of its construction the main strategic document at EU level.
Renewable energy: Is coal-fired Poland the right member state to lead the EU delegation at the COP-15 summit in Durban?
By Wojciech Słowiński, Director, Advisory Department, PwC
Poland is perceived by many Europeans as a country with an old-fashioned coal-fired economy which generates huge amounts of CO2 and is a role-model “public enemy” for ecologists. As the Polish Presidency of the EU sheds more light on the country’s business, it’s worth noting just how huge Polish industry’s efforts have been to improve its energy efficiency over the past years. According to central statistical office (GUS) data, Poland’s economy improved its energy efficiency by 30% from 2000 to 2009 doing so in a more dynamic way than the ‘old EU’ member states. Coal’s share in final energy consumption decreased from 26% in 1999 to 18% in 2009. And in 2009 renewable energy capacity increased by 315 MW (19%) to 1,993 MW compared to 2008. All this should be taken into account when accusing Poland of being a black sheep in the EU flock!
BPCC CEO Breakfast with Radosław Sikorski, Poland's foreign minister
Poland’s foreign minister, Radosław Sikorski, addressed BPCC members at a breakfast held in the British Embassy in Warsaw on the eve of the Polish EU presidency.
Mr Sikorski, who studied at Oxford, began by praising the buoyant state of the Polish-UK economic relations; the value of Polish exports to the UK has been growing at an annual average of 17% year-on-year for the past decade. He also mentioned shale gas, inviting UK firms to “take advantage of a major opportunity for Poland and for Europe”.
“We are in an unusual position – for the first time in history, Poland has become a source of solutions not of problems,” he said referring also to the country’s manageable indebtedness levels and good practice in terms of a constitutional debt limit.
Focusing on the main themes of the Poland’s EU presidency, Mr Sikorski said “to use Bill Clinton’s quote, ‘it’s the economy, stupid’. Restarting growth in Europe is key to everything else. Better relations with our neighbours are conditional on the return to a dynamic economy. We want to push the British solution – completing the single market services and cross-border internet trade. 60% of all potential cross-border online transactions don’t get completed. If they were, the EU’s global GDP would rise by 4%. Our ministers will work to make this happen.”