Conference "Carpathian Europe" in Krynica

On September 7-8, Marek Kuchciński, Deputy Speaker of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland, participated as an initiator in the international conference "Carpathian Europe", organized by the Sejm and the Senate of the Republic of Poland as part of the parliamentary dimension of the Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union during the 21st Economic Forum in Krynica Górska.


On the second day of the conference Poland signed the protocols of the Carpathian Convention related to the whole area of the Carpathians, concerning tourism and environmental protection (development of sustainable tourism and protection of nature and landscape diversity, their sustainable use and monitoring of the environment).


In the ceremony presided over by Marshal Kuchciński (accompanied by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Pavel Klimkin), the protocols were signed on behalf of the Polish Government by: Katarzyna Sobierajska - Deputy Minister of Sport and Tourism and Janusz Zaleski - Deputy Minister of Environment and Chief Nature Conservationist.


The protocols adopted by Poland are both a part of and a development of the "Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians", known as the "Carpathian Convention" (it is a declaration of the Carpathian countries on the scope of political cooperation for the development of the Carpathian macro-region). Panels of the conference concerned presentation of the Carpathian Convention, cooperation in the context of the new EU budget (2014-2020) and good cooperation practices. {gallery}krynica2011{/gallery}


Marshal Kuchciński as well as the participants of the discussion stressed that especially now, during the Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the eyes of the whole Europe should be drawn to the somewhat forgotten and underestimated area of the Carpathians, which extends through the territories of as many as 8 countries. This area fulfils the criteria of a macro-region and deserves the support of the entire European Union according to the much quoted principle of European solidarity. The potential of a number of Carpathian countries should be combined with the potential of the EU in the form of a separate Carpathian strategy, analogous to the Alpine strategy, which has been in operation for a long time, or to the recently created Baltic Sea and Danube strategies.


The Carpathian Convention should be transformed into a European strategy that includes concrete projects to be implemented and at the same time integrates instruments and action programs at various levels. A good example is the functioning of the structures of the Carpathian Euroregion, capable of taking on the function of an institution coordinating the creation and implementation of these projects in the area of the Euroregion. It is one of the most active, out of more than a dozen such forms of cross-border cooperation in the Carpathians.


The main subjects of such cooperation should be both state institutions and local governments, i.e. officials and politicians, as well as numerous associations and NGOs, i.e. in fact society. The discussants from Poland, Ukraine, Austria and Slovakia raised an important issue of including the whole European Union in the cooperation within the framework of the Carpathian Convention by ratification of the Convention by the EU. So far the Convention has been an own initiative of the Carpathian countries.


The discussions were attended, among others, by Harald Egerer from Austria - Head of the Interim Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention and at the same time Head of the Liaison Office of the UN Environment Programme, Martin Ramirez from Spain - Secretary General of the Association of European Border Regions, the Polish government was represented by Deputy Minister Katarzyna Sobierajska, Deputy Minister Janusz Zaleski and Deputy Minister Marceli Niezgoda from the Ministry of Regional Development. In addition, Bogusław Sonik MP - initiator of the "Intergroup on mountains, islands and sparsely populated regions" in the European Parliament, Borys Tarasyuk - Chairman of the Commission for European Integration of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Jan Hudacki - Secretary of State in the Ministry of Transport and Regional Development of the Slovak Republic, Josef Polaczko from Slovakia - President of the Carpathian Euroregion Slovakia-North, Markian Malskij - Ambassador of Ukraine to Poland, Pavlo Klimkin - Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, MP Bronisław Dutka - Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission for Local Self-Government, Jan Malicki from Warsaw University, prof. Igor Tsependa from the Carpathian University, Dr. Bohdan Prots - WWF Ukraine, Prof. Bohdan Hud from Lviv University, as well as Associate Professor Krzysztof Szczerski from Jagiellonian University, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Deputy Minister for European Affairs.


Marshal Kuchciński also participated in the panel concerning the role of Visegrad Group countries in supporting the European aspirations of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Representatives of these countries (Mihai Godea from Moldova, Pavlo Klimkin from Ukraine and Ghia Nodia from Georgia) on one hand expressed on behalf of the authorities and societies of their countries a strong desire for Euro-integration, but on the other hand they did not hide their disappointment with the lack of political will in many European countries for further enlargement of the European Union.


In his speech, Marshal Kuchciński noted, among other things, that the Eastern policy is a priority in the foreign policy of the Visegrad Group countries, although it is sometimes diluted by the national egoism increasingly visible in the EU countries. He therefore wished the Visegrad countries to continue to maintain the principle of European solidarity and to strongly support Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia in their efforts to integrate into the European Union.


According to Marek Kuchciński, Visegrad countries are wasting their opportunities a little bit, because they are not making a good use of their position resulting from, for example, recent Hungarian presidency in the Council of the European Union, current Polish presidency or the fact that a Pole is the President of the European Parliament and a Czech is an EU Commissioner responsible for the EU policy. Marshal Kuchciński also indicated the scope for action for the Visegrad Group countries through more intensive cooperation within the Carpathian macro-region, which remains a neglected area, but is geopolitically important as the eastern border of the European Union.


Thus, through strong support at the pan-European forum for the development of the Carpathian macro-region, we can additionally support rapid Euro-integration of Ukraine and Moldova, as well as Georgia, so that we can have a stable situation here - appealed Marshal Kuchciński, arguing that replacing this with the Neighbourhood Policy is not enough, because it is an activity that is not fully specified and has relatively small resources at its disposal.



(1)- The panel devoted to the Carpathian Convention was led by the Deputy Speaker of the Polish Sejm, Marek Kuchciński (center). On the left - Martin Ramirez from Spain, on the right - Harald Egerer from Austria.

(2) - The "Carpathian Europe" conference was held under a big tent (right next to the main Forum rooms).

(3)- a common photo in front of the main building of the Forum in the first row: Professor Bohdan Hud with his wife, Professor Adam Roznoch, Deputy Speaker of the Polish Parliament Marek Kuchciński, in the second row representatives of the Carpathian Euroregion: Józef Jodłowski, Josef Polaczko, Bogdan Rzońca, Dawid Lasek and Martin Ramirez from Spain.

(4)and (5) - As part of the Economic Forum, Speaker Kuchciński appeared on a panel titled "The Visegrad Pentagon as a Bridge for Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia on the Road to the European Union. Pictured with panelists (left) Mihai Godea from Moldova, Pavlo Klimkin from Ukraine, (right) Petr Vagner from Czech Republic, Ghia Nodia from Georgia and Libor Roucek - Vice President of the European Parliament.



Parliamentary committees

Law and Justice



Skip to content