The Forum of fulfilled expectations
The XV European Economic Forum – Lodzkie 2022 proved to be a very good culmination of the year. Distinguished guests, experts and speakers were able to provide an excellent summary of the economic events of the past months and ensured a high level of discussion about the future ahead of us.
The Forum turned out to be one of the largest and most important economic events in Poland. Guests had the opportunity to attend dozens of panels, workshops, lectures and plenary sessions. The theme of this year’s edition was business in the age of innovation, which allowed many issues to be addressed where new solutions are successfully implemented.
The EGF was also the venue for the signing of very important agreements and accords. Thus, Central Transport Port will donate PLN 10 million for the purchase of new hybrid buses for the Lodzkie Region. This is the result of the signatures of the government plenipotentiary for CPK matters, Marcin Horały, the president of the CPK Company Mikołaj Wild and the Marshal of the Lodzkie Region, Grzegorz Schreiber.
The Lodzkie Region will use the money to buy at least 6 modern hybrid buses, which will be diverted to routes between towns with the sparsest service network. They will take passengers to the railway stops.
The reconstruction of the railway line between Piotrków and Bełchatów of more than 33 km and its extension by almost 7 km are the main objectives of the project, which will be implemented thanks to money from the government’s programme Kolej Plus. Piotrków, Bełchatów, Wieluń and Wieruszów will gain access to the international rail transport corridor Bałtyk-Adriatyk. Seven new railway stations and stops will be built in the process. In connection with the signing of the contract, a panel discussion took place on the future of railways in the Lodzkie Region, which was also attentively listened to by the Deputy Marshal of the Region, Zbigniew Ziemba.
The Forum was also an opportunity to discuss the allocation of 2 billion 745 million EU euros that will come to our region from the European Funds for Lodzkie Region programme until 2027. The discussion was attended by: Małgorzata Jarosińska-Jedynak, Deputy Minister for Funds and Regional Policy, and Grzegorz Schreiber, Marshal of the Lodzkie Region. And since there was talk of such large sums of money, the issue of digitisation and its development in business and administration was also discussed – Deputy Marshal Piotr Adamczyk was active in this topic, as were innovations in agriculture – this panel was attended by, among others, Member of the Board of the Lodzkie Region, Andrzej Górczyński, activation and participation of seniors – this panel was attended by Member of the Board of the LodzkieRegion Robert Baryła, oncology prevention or the development of the drone market.
The latter issue closely linked to a thematic block that ran throughout the Forum, namely the situation in Ukraine. The guests from the war-torn country explicitly admitted that they had come to Lodzkie Region to receive aid – both humanitarian aid, directly addressed to the inhabitants of the occupied country, and aid to secure its future, including business contacts to boost the Ukrainian economy. The EGF was attended by delegations from the Odessa Region, Winnica and local business representatives. All were participants in panels dedicated to Ukraine and its current situation, including: “Drone warfare in Ukraine”. The future of the unmanned systems market, “What can we do for Ukraine today?”. The Ukrainian guests also met with local government officials from the region.
– We were very keen to make the voice of Ukraine as loud as possible during the EGF, which is one of the most important events of the year in our region – emphasises Grzegorz Schreiber, Marshal of the Lodzkie Region. – It is very important that in this difficult situation, which directly affects us, our actions should respond precisely to the needs of Ukraine, which is, after all, the guardian of European security.
Forum guests from Ukraine visited refugees residing in the Lodzkie Region. A delegation from the Podolia Region met with women living in a dormitory in Piotrków Trybunalski. The visit was very emotional, as it turned out that the Ukrainian women who fled to Poland before the war were from the same village where Sofia Khodiuk, chairwoman of the Podolia Regional Council, lives.
In turn, delegations from the Odessa Region were interviewed by Deputy Marshal Piotr Adamczyk and Andrzej Górczyński, Member of the Board of the Lodzkie Region.
There was a broadly international dimension to the discussion with representatives of the European Committee of the Regions – The European Conservatives and Reformists. Local government officials from Italy, Finland, The Czech Republic, Spain and Hungary took part in the debate ‘Together into the future’. The leading topic was economic and regional cooperation in Europe in the face of the threats posed by the pandemic and the effects of the war in Ukraine.
– We are all representatives of our local authorities, this is Europe in a nutshell – said Grzegorz Schreiber, Marshal of the Lodzkie Region, about his guests.
In the course of the debate, it became clear that all regions were facing the same crises. These are first and foremost the effects of the pandemic and then of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, i.e., the disruption of supply chains from Asian countries, which hit agriculture and industry hard, and the difficulties arising from dependence on Russian raw materials, which in turn affected energy supply. – Disrupted supply chains have affected many sectors of the economy, some have not returned to their pre-pandemic state e.g., the automotive market, where the waiting time for new cars exceeds two years – said Witold Kozłowski, Marshal of Małopolska. Anna Magyar, from the Csongrád-Csanád region of Hungary, added that in her region, rich in thermal water deposits, the pandemic hit tourism in particular.
Therefore, as all panellists unanimously acknowledged, local governments need joint solutions for, among other things, decoupling production and natural resources from Asia and Russia.
The ceremonial highlight of the Forum was the Gala combined with the presentation of the Lodzkie Region’s “Biznes na PLUS” economic awards. For their contribution to the development of the region and building its positive image, the first prize was awarded ex aequo to two companies: Ceramika Paradyż and the Tubądzin Group. In the category “Programmed Lodz for the future”, the statuette was awarded to the APS company – Eco-Innovations for scientific undertakings in the field of renewable energy technologies; the award “Successful Success” was given to the owners of the AMZ-KUTNO S.A. company, which specialises in the design and production of special bodies for commercial vehicles: ambulances, bank vehicles, special vehicles for the uniformed services, as well as military vehicles; the award in the “International Success” category went to Irena Struniec Enterprise from Zgierz in recognition of maintaining a high level of sales during the pandemic; in the “Debut of the Year” category, the award went to ConnectedVR Sp. z o.o. from Łódź – winner of the S5 – 5G Technology Accelerator programme; the audience award in the “Business Aware” category went to the Widzew Łódź Club; a special award to Military Aviation Works No. 1, S.A. in Lodz for, among other things, its potential and development opportunities.
Social entrepreneurs were also recognised. Deputy Speaker Zbigniew Ziemba spoke about their market share during the panel.
On the last day of the Forum, Marshal Grzegorz Schreiber also met with entrepreneurs individually. – I wanted to hear from you. Let me know what I can do for you next year. Show the way forward on the issues that concern you,” he encouraged the group of businessmen from Lodzkie Region. 25 of them took the opportunity to receive certificates for promoting the region at home and abroad during trade fairs, missions and industry conferences organisedby the Lodzkie Region.
The next EGF is already in the New Year. You are cordially invited!« back