Publication: 34th Carpathian Europe Conference


We present to the Readers the materials from the 34th International Conference "Europe of the Carpathians", which took place in Karpacz 194 days after the beginning of the full-scale Russian aggression against Ukraine. In this situation, most of the Carpathian states became the direct hinterland of the attacked country. This fact significantly influenced the theme of the conference and its course.

The importance of European unity and cooperation of the Carpathian Europe in the face of the multiple crisis caused by the war was emphasized in the "Message of the Program Council of the Carpathian Europe Clubs to people of science, culture, politics and other opinion-forming circles of Central Europe" published on the pages of this publication. From February 24, 2022, this keynote of our international conferences can be taken literally. We warned against the danger posed by Putin's regime, and we sought military and economic strengthening of the region. Unfortunately, the attention of almost the entire globe focused on our part of Europe only when the war broke out, which poses a threat to the entire world. A significant part of the West sees that the continent's center of gravity has shifted to the countries of Central Europe, from Finland to Romania and the Balkans, on the most crucial issue today - security. And the Europe of the Carpathians, which is part of this region, provides the struggling Ukraine with a "corridor of life", humanitarian support and care for millions of war refugees. It can be said that in these dramatic circumstances, our generation is building the specific features of Central European identity, the foundation of which is the word solidarity.

Last year showed us all how profitable investments in the Carpathian region are. A special symbol of them is the Rzeszów-Jasionka airport. Transports with supplies for the fighting Ukraine also reach the other side of the border by rail and highway. As a consequence, Russian aggression made the countries of the Carpathian region even closer to cooperation. In the hour of trial, the declared friendship of the societies of the Carpathian region turned out to be very real.

Everyone should already understand that Ukraine's independence is in the interest of the entire eastern flank of NATO, the EU, Europe and the world. However, this requires an efficient reconstruction of this country. According to preliminary estimates made at the end of 2022, repairing the damage caused by Russia will cost over $600 billion. Ukraine's GDP may have shrunk by as much as half over the past year, which means that without a long-term program of foreign aid, Ukraine will not be able to make up for the losses incurred. This is a topic that will probably accompany us during many subsequent conferences.

Another issue is also gaining unprecedented importance - strengthening communication in the area of three seas: the Baltic, Black and Adriatic. For example: Via Carpatia, which has been discussed many times during the conference, is to be the core of the entire network of branches leading, for example, to Gdańsk or Odessa. This is not the only way to connect the north with the south of Europe. The idea, which is already being finalized, also assumes the creation of a high-speed Warsaw-Brno-Bratislava-Budapest railway. At the next stage, this railway can reach as far as Belgrade. Our role was to encourage the governments of the countries in the region to work together on these initiatives.

For years, we have been building a positive atmosphere for cooperation between the countries of our region. After 2010, the Visegrad Group clearly strengthened, especially in relations with the European Union. As a result, attention is drawn to cooperation in Central Europe, going beyond the borders of the EU, Schengen or the euro zone. A real success is also the rapprochement at other levels - institutions, non-governmental organizations, local governments, universities, local communities. We often invite young leaders of the Carpathian region to the discussion to learn about their proposals for the future of our region. We are especially looking at the civilizational revolution that is taking place thanks to new technologies (GovTech changes our world every day!).

The inhabitants of the Carpathians are culturally and linguistically diverse, and have unique customs. This is the heritage of many nations and nations. In terms of biodiversity, our mountains are the richest in Europe. The Carpathians are also a gigantic reservoir of drinking water - and only international cooperation can ensure sufficient resources of this strategic raw material for people. Let us also remember about food security, which is ensured by Carpathian farmers. We have been operating in Europe of the Carpathians for years for cooperation and peace. This is one of our most important challenges right now. And we are aware that our security is best ensured by strong states and strong armies. It is worth recalling here the words spoken by Fr. prof. Franjo Topić: "Peace is not everything, but without peace everything is nothing." Last year showed that cooperation in the Carpathian region bears fruit. And let it be a good prognosis for the future.

Marek Kuchciński



Parliamentary committees

Law and Justice



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