Conference "Carpathian Europe" - summary

On February 27 in Przemyśl, on the initiative of the Speaker of the Polish Sejm Marek Kuchcinski, an international conference "Europe of the Carpathians" was held for the 11th time. Among the invited guests were parliamentarians, ministers, business representatives from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia, Lithuania and Romania.

The first panel discussion was devoted to the security of Central and Eastern Europe, On the Polish side, Deputy Speaker of the Sejm Ryszard Terlecki, chairman of the Kukiz'15 parliamentary club Paweł Kukiz and chairwoman of the Sejm's European Union Affairs Committee Izabela Kloc spoke. Foreign panelists included Deputy Chairman of the Senate of the Czech Republic Přemysl Sobotka, and deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Oksana Jurynec. The panel was moderated by Piotr Naimski, Secretary of State in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister and Government Plenipotentiary for Strategic Energy Infrastructure.

Among other things, the panelists spoke about Europe's helplessness in the face of refugees, the crisis of European values and harmful European bureaucracy, as well as cooperation on the ability to defend external borders. They also talked about energy security, the need to reduce dependence on gas, oil and coal imports. Critical reference was also made to the German-Russian Nord Stream project, as being against Polish interests and undermining the European Union's common energy policy. Chairwoman Izabela Kloc spoke about the idea of the Inter-Mediterranean, the possibility of connecting our countries by water through the Danube-Oder canal, while Richard Hörcsik spoke about the strong partnerships between our countries and the reality of cooperation, as evidenced by the Via Carpatia - S19 road initiated by Marshal Marek Kuchciński.

The second panel was largely devoted to infrastructure development, with the aforementioned S19 road as the main theme. MEP Tomasz Poręba, who chaired the panel, spoke about the great role of Via Carpatia, intended to stimulate development and equalize differences between the old and new Union. - Huge sums of money from the Union are allocated to other strategies, such as the Alpine or Baltic Strategy, and yet the Carpathian Strategy meets all the conditions to be included in such a program, Poręba argued. They also talked about the neglect of inland navigation to date and the great development potential of the Carpathian rivers. Participants in the meeting agreed that the priorities for cooperation are infrastructure improvement, environmental protection, economic development and tourism.

The topic of the third panel, chaired by Podkarpackie Voivodeship Marshal Władysław Ortyl, was the platforms for economic, tourism and environmental cooperation. One of the panelists was the head of the Customs Service, Marian Banaś, who spoke about streamlining customs operations and the implementation of the tax and customs administration reform in Poland. As he stressed, effective customs operations promote entrepreneurship.

A representative of the Ministry of Sport and Tourism, Jaroslaw Stawiarski, meanwhile, discussed activities in the implementation of the sustainable tourism plan, while referring to preparations related to the organization of the Second Carpathian States Tourism Forum.

Representatives of local governments also spoke in the discussion. As repeatedly emphasized, the priority for the region is the development of transport corridors. This is because they will directly strengthen economic competitiveness and positively influence the development of the region.

The session also paid attention to the protection of national heritage. They discussed, among other things, joint initiatives in the field of culture such as the reconstruction of the observatory on Mount Pop Ivan in Ukraine. They also spoke of the great role of the Aviation Valley, a continuation of Podkarpackie traditions from before World War II, when the region was a big player in the global market for manufacturers of aircraft structures.

The fourth panel, with the participation of Senate Speaker Stanislaw Karczewski and Foreign Ministry Secretary of State Jan Dziedziczak, among others, dealt with cultural and information cooperation. Polish Television President Jacek Kurski presented an idea for a 24-hour Central European TV channel in English. - The meeting resulted in a number of ideas, led by the flower that is joint television. We are still looking for various forms of cooperation in order to raise the standard of living," Marshal Kuchcinski said in conclusion.


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