Carpathian Europe. Towards a Central European identity - conference announcement

Karpacz, September 6-8

Carpathian Europe is a place for exchanging ideas and turning them into real solutions. This year in Karpacz, politicians, economists, diplomats, philosophers and opinion leaders will take on the challenge of describing the new reality and cooperation of countries whose fates have been strongly intertwined over the centuries, and whose entire region is still characterized by multiple diversity. o it still forces us to think more deeply about the identity of Central Europe.

  • We propose to lean how, in today's Central European world complicated by war and external interests, it is possible to build forms of cooperation in all possible areas," explains Marek Kuchcinski, the originator and initiator of Carpathian Europe, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Polish Sejm.

Strengthening the security of Central Europe

The deputy chairman of the Law and Justice club believes that it is necessary to strengthen the security of countries in our region. - The idea is to encourage neighborly cooperation, against external interests. During the three-day conference, panels will be devoted to specific topics related to the region's security in the broadest sense, Marek Kuchcinski added, inviting people to Karpacz for the Carpathian Europe Conference (6-8.09).

The speakers will include: Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Antoni Macierewicz, Ryszard Legutko, Ryszard Terlecki, Zdzislaw Krasnodębski, Krzysztof Szczerski and Janusz Wojciechowski.

  • More than 20 years ago, we began explaining to people that the Carpathians bind countries together not just geographically. This mountain chain is at the same time a network of smaller links that connect people, industry, culture, education, similar defense problems, demographics and agricultural challenges. Today we see this particularly clearly, with the war in Ukraine becoming a real threat to Poland, Belarus, Slovakia, Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Serbia, and thus the Carpathian countries. Of course, this is just an example, the beginning of a chain reaction that is shaking Europe," explains Marek Kuchcinski, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Profitable deepening of cooperation

The starting point will be a panel led by Deputy Senate Speaker Marek Pęk - "Central European Identity. Attributes and Symbols" (15:40-16:40 on Tuesday, September 6). It is intended to be an exchange of arguments in favor of deepening cooperation. It brings together geopolitical, economic and infrastructural rationales. Marek Kuchcinski, Krzysztof Szczerski (Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the United Nations), Pavol Mačala (Slovakian Scientific Association for Personalism), Balázs Orbán (Deputy Minister and Secretary of State for Parliamentary and Strategic Affairs at the Chancellery of the Republic of Poland), and the President of the Republic of Poland. Parliamentary and Strategic Affairs of the Chancellery of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban), Emanuelis Zingeris (Member of the Seimas, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee), Jan Draus (member of the College of the Institute of National Remembrance), Markiyan Malsky (Lviv University, former Ukrainian Ambassador to Poland), Rev. Prof. Franjo Topić (Bosnia and Herzegovina) will also introduce the audience to other distinctive features of the region, outstanding people, symbols of triumphs and failures.

This war is reaching us all

This year's conference naturally refers to the war beyond our eastern border. It is in the interest of our region that the voice coming from Kiev or Warsaw be heard around the world. Pope Pole once had such a loud voice. "It is peace that must guide the destinies of nations and all mankind," John Paul II wrote to the Polish episcopate on the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. In view of the current geopolitical situation, it is important to reflect on the nature of war: local and global. This is the longest modern war in Europe. The future of Ukraine and the various scenarios - from victory to mass extermination and captivity - should be reflected upon. No one can say anymore that this war is happening far away, that its effects will not reach him. The whole world is feeling them right now. We see the tragedy of the civilians murdered by the Russians, the burning houses, the bodies of women and children guilty only of the fact that they happened to be going to kindergarten together. For the Russian bombs make no difference: they destroy nurseries and refineries, turn hospitals and steel mills to ashes, tear apart the cultural heritage of the East and the spheres of grandfathered farmers.

Stop Russia, increase support for the region

Ukrainian authorities estimate that several billion USD per month will be needed to rebuild their country after the war with Russia. Experts now also estimate that the full reconstruction of Ukraine will exceed $1,000 billion.

  • Russia continues to earn more during this war than other countries spend in support of Ukraine to stop Putin. As long as these proportions are in favor of Moscow's imperial policy, our region will be at risk," explains Marek Kuchcinski.

Meanwhile, experts at the Kiel-based Institute for the World Economy are sounding the alarm that international support for Ukraine declined in July [1]. None of the big EU countries, such as Germany, France or Italy, made any significant new pledges. In July, Ukraine received only about €1.5 billion in new pledges of support. In total, the Ukraine Support Tracker records pledges of €84.2 billion.

The largest amount of military aid to Ukraine so far has been provided by the United States - 25 billion euros, significantly more than the United Kingdom, which comes in second place with 4 billion euros. In third place is institutional support from EU institutions - 2.5 billion. Fourth is Poland, with 1.8 billion euros in military aid. Meanwhile, Germany and France have pledged €1.2 billion and €0.2 billion, respectively. The Kiel Institute estimates that the Polish side has also pledged €100 million in humanitarian support and €0.99 billion in financial aid.

In an interview with Politico, Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks hinted that Berlin and Paris should increase their support [2]. The benchmark is the aid provided by countries such as Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania, Norway, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, per GDP.

The European Union is providing surprisingly little aid compared to its €800 billion coronavirus outbreak support fund.

Bloody gas and oil

Meanwhile, Bloomberg, a reputable news agency specializing in the economy, reports that Russia is earning an average of $800 million a day this year from oil and gas trade alone. During Carpathian Europe, panelists will attempt to clarify Ukrainian gas demand and Poland's ability to supply Ukraine. The topic is complex, as it includes Poland's demand for imported gas, the capacity of the infrastructure supporting Poland's gas imports (e.g., the capacity of the gas port and Baltic Pipe) and the transit capacity of Polish pipelines and interconnectors leading to Ukraine. In order to have a broader picture of the energy situation in our region, it would also be worthwhile to analyze analogous Slovak, Hungarian and Romanian capacities and assess how Poland ranks against them. It would also be worth counting how powerful the support of all Central European countries would be if they acted together.

How to prevent a food crisis

As a result of Russia's attack on Ukraine, fertilizer and energy prices have risen sharply and macroeconomic conditions have deteriorated globally, which will result in a major food crisis. Russia attacked Ukraine's transportation infrastructure and de facto blocked the Black Sea ports from which 90% Ukrainian agricultural products are customarily exported. The destruction of Ukrainian crops, food warehouses and agricultural machinery, and the theft of crops by the Russian military will affect production and export capacity in the coming months. By destroying Ukraine, Russia wants to destroy Europe in order to subjugate it.

According to the initiator of the conference, Marek Kuchcinski, we need to start thinking and talking about joint actions also in the face of a possible food crisis. Knowing Poland's infrastructural capacity to export Ukrainian grain in transit through RP, as well as analogous Slovak, Hungarian and Romanian capacities, and knowing how Poland ranks against them, we will be able to answer the question of whether there are and what are the possibilities for Poland's cooperation with other Carpathian European countries in solving the problems of supplying Ukraine. At the same time, we need to be realistic and assess whether this is a significant blow to Poland's interests, or whether there is so much grain that all transit channels can be saturated without a problem. Among others, Janusz Wojciechowski (European Union Commissioner for Agriculture), Henryk Kowalczyk (Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development), Mykola Solskyi (Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food), Lajos Bognár (Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Agriculture), Czeslaw Siekierski (Member of Parliament) of the Republic of Poland and Zdeněk Nekula, (Czech Minister of Agriculture) will discuss this issue.

  • In Karpacz, we want to juxtapose different opinions on the legitimacy of Poland's massive involvement in helping Ukraine. Politicians, businessmen, human rights defenders, diplomats and members of governments are able to unveil points of view that are not always the subject of public debate," explains Marek Kuchcinski, organizer of the Conference. - We want this voice to reach public opinion, which has influence on the authorities of countries such as Germany, France and Italy. It is she who can pressure governments not to support Putin by buying raw materials from him, with which he finances the army that is carrying out crimes in Ukraine," explains the former Speaker of the Sejm.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski on realism in politics

The panel "Realism and Values in Politics" will also have a special place (17:15-18:15, September 7, Wednesday). Jaroslaw Kaczynski, chairman of the Law and Justice party, will participate, as will philosopher and Member of the European Parliament Prof. Ryszard Legutko and writer Bronislaw Wildstein. In turn, the discussion will be moderated by Zdzislaw Krasnodębski, also a philosopher and member of the European Parliament, and will be based on the book "Realism and Values. Law and Justice on Foreign Policy." This is a monograph by the late political scientist and academic, Professor Waldemar Paruch. It will be an exchange of views on, first and foremost, the strategy for Poland, but also the paradigm of PiS political thought, the transatlantic policy of the group. The much-discussed idealistic policy of "subordination to values" is considered naïve by some, a necessity by others. How does realpolitik relate to "Machiavellianism," and can fidelity to values be reconciled with effectiveness?

Waldemar Paruch quotes President Lech Kaczynski in his book: "As much will Poland mean in the West as it is able to create ties of cooperation in the East, and as much will it be valued in the East as it proves to be a reliable partner and advocate in advancing the legitimate interests of our region in the EU and NATO."

On the last day (September 8, Thursday), panels are planned to present the problems of our part of Europe from a different perspective. Since 2022 is the European Year of Youth, young European leaders from the fields of politics and media will speak. One of the topics will be the answer to the question of whether it is possible to speak of an emerging new Central European identity. A completely different perspective on the problems of our region may be revealed by a panel led by Czech translator and journalist Lucie Szymanowska. It will deal with the future of women in the face of post-modern trends. How are the ladies coping with the responsibilities placed on them in public, family and professional life.

An important part of Carpathian Europe is also the animation of cooperation between university communities within the framework of the Collegium Carpathicum. This is a faculty exchange project between a network of universities located in the Carpathian region. This panel will present the concept of operation Institute of Carpathian Europe, as a form of institutionalizing the activities of the Conference. Its task will be the training of personnel for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the work of the Carpathian Europe Study and Research Center, assistance to Ukraine in the process of transformation and the organization of initiatives submitted by the community.  

On that day, experts will also return to issues directly related to the war in Ukraine. It has significantly led to changes in international politics in the European arena. Poland has become one of the leaders pointing to the need for changes in the understanding of military and economic cooperation. Panelists participating in the discussion "The end of the world as we knew it. Leadership across borders. Poland, Tri-Croatia, Europe" will try to find an answer to the question of how prepared we are for future crises. In the near future, catastrophic weather phenomena, the next waves of COVID-19 epidemics and the genocidal war in Ukraine will be superimposed on further shocks that could lead not only to further polarization, but also to a social explosion. How to prepare for such a shock?

In turn, war correspondents from the countries of Carpathian Europe will try to bring listeners the truth about the war in Ukraine. The events beyond our eastern border are presented differently in different countries. Polish correspondents warn that the pursuit of cheap sensationalism and fast news can end tragically for soldiers on the front lines. Some media outlets reveal the positions of Ukrainian armed forces, exposing them to retaliation from the Russians. Media people try to explain how the war in Ukraine differs from other wars, including in the area of its public perception in the correspondent's home country.

Finally, experts will face the answer to the question: Ukraine and what next? How can reconstruction, transformation take place, from where the destroyed country will get cadres capable of such a great effort as lifting entire branches of the economy from the rubble. The modern world is a system of interconnected vessels. It is impossible to pretend that Ukraine will get up after the war without the help of neighbors and rich countries from around the world. It will be difficult to heal such huge economic and social wounds. For this, high-level experts and huge financial resources are needed. If we do not close the wound in Ukraine, the infection caused by Putin's criminals will develop into a disease spreading to other countries.

This year's Europe of the Carpathians Conference will last three days and will provide a venue for dozens of prominent politicians, economists, thinkers to exchange opinions and ideas on solutions to the region's pressing needs.

text, photo by Marta Olejnik

  1. The Ukraine Support Tracker takes into account military, financial and humanitarian aid promised by governments as of January 24, 2022. It covers 40 countries, notably EU member states, other G7 members, as well as Australia, South Korea, Turkey, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland, China, Taiwan and India. Poland is invariably mentioned at the top of these reports.
  2. Europe's powers gave Ukraine no new military pledges in July, data shows


Carpathian Europe, Karpacz, September 2021


Parliamentary committees

Law and Justice



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