Risks and Trends

R&T 2021: Energy Transition and Health

Preview 2021-02-16
The political and social effects of the energy transition and plans of the Minister of Health will the focus of the upcoming Risks and Trends.

Climate and energy (10 a.m.)

What the transition will bring. Europe’s pace of moving away from fossil fuels is gaining momentum. The energy transition benefits from the fact that wind and solar energy are becoming cheaper and social awareness of the effects of climate change is growing. Politicians do not want to talk about coal anymore, business is trying to limit its impact on the environment, and a growing group of consumers produce electricity at home. Also, we already understand the economic mechanisms of energy transition. But what social and political consequences can we expect? And are the states that have built their power on fuel exports facing an imminent collapse?

Timmermans on whether the transition can be peaceful. Frans Timmermans is a Dutch politician and VicePresident of the EurCom. He is responsible for implementing the European Green Deal, the world’s most ambitious climate strategy, a plan to achieve zero emissions in the EU by 2050. PI analysts Robert Tomaszewski and Dominik Brodacki will ask him how the transition may affect democracy and whether member states will be able to control the process. Alongside Frans Timmermans they will consider whether the growing threat of energy poverty will re-ignite populism, and the EU commissioner will talk about the geopolitical consequences of decarbonisation and its impact on countries that rely on fossil fuel exports such as Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Wildberger on the future of energy and business responsibility for transition. Karsten Wildberger has been a management board member of E.ON, one of the largest German energy companies since 2016m where he is responsible for, among others, energy markets, digital transformation and marketing. Previously, he had worked at BCG as well as at telecommunications companies (T-Mobile and Vodafone). Karsten Wildberger holds a doctorate in theoretical physics. At Risks and Trends, Robert Tomaszewski will ask him about the future shape of the energy market, as well as how the transition and the growing number of prosumers might change the role of large energy groups. Wildberger will talk about the responsibility of the old energy sector for the costs of decarbonisation since that sector has profited from fossil fuels for years.

Kasprzak, Messerszmidt and Zygmunt on whether the transition can be fair. In the last meeting to discuss energy, Małgorzata Kasprzak, an Ember think tank analyst, Alicja Messerszmidt, the president of the Inter-Enterprise Trade Union of Engineers and Technical Employees "Kadra" at the Konin Brown Coal Mine and Izabela Zygmunt, aclimate expert at the Polish Green Network, will talk about whether the energy transition with with “a human face" is possible. Kasprzak will talk about how the more ambitious EU climate goals will translate into energy prices, Messerszmidt will reveal how the employees at Zespół Elektrowni Pątnów-Adamów-Konin look at the transition, and Zygmunt will consider whether an effort to decarbonise and avoid social exclusion is possible.

Health (3:00 p.m.)

How to recover from COVID-19. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted a number of neglect and structural problems in the Polish health care system: staff shortages, underinvestment in facilities and difficulties in accessing patients to health services. Tens of thousands of excess deaths in 2020 fuelsed the discussion about the changes needed for the system to better cope with similar shocks in the future. What is the optimal organization of the health care system? Does central management give better results than decentralised? What improvements and reforms can be introduced this year, and what needs at least one term of office?

Niedzielski on plans for the rest of his term. Adam Niedzielski has been the head of MinHealth since August 2020, and he assumed that office after nearly two years of managing the NFZ; is the first health minister in many terms with no medical background. Talking to Piotr Żakowiecki, PI’s senior health analyst, Niedzielski will present his vision of a rational health care system and the initiatives his ministry is working on. The minister will reveal, among other things, how he views the so-called pyramid of benefits, why there is no alternative to central hospital management and what changes in the funding of the system may be expected before the next parliamentary elections.

Experts on the conditions for the success of health reforms. At Risks and Trends, Żakowiecki will host a discussion panel. His guests will include by Maria Libura (Collegium Medicum, University of Warmia and Mazury), Robert Mołdach (Institute of Health and Democracy) and Łukasz Jankowski (District Medical Council in Warsaw). The topics will focus on key aspects of health policy, including proper identification of goals, reliable consultation with the interested parties and good communication between decision-makers and participants in the health care system. Experts will indicate what lessons can be learned from the pandemic and which areas require the most attention, and will assess the chances of implementing the necessary reforms by 2023 and 2030.

Climate and energy


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Robert Tomaszewski
Head of Energy Sector Desk
Robert Tomaszewski
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Piotr Żakowiecki
fmr. Senior Healthcare Analyst
Piotr Żakowiecki
PI Alert

EU summit: Member States launch discussion on financing joint defence initiatives

State of play

Leaders approved appointments to top posts. At the EU summit that ended on Thursday night, they nominated Ursula von der Leyen for a second term as head of EurCom, former Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa as head of EurCou and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas as head of EU diplomacy. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni abstained from voting for von der Leyen and voted against Costa and Kallas. This means that Meloni is preparing for tough negotiations and may demand a high political price in return for his party's support for von der Leyen in her approval in the EurParl. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán voted against von der Leyen and abstained on Kallas.

They adopted the Union's strategic agenda for 2024-2029. Over the next five years, the Union's goals include a successful digital and green transformation by "pragmatically" pursuing the path to climate neutrality by 2050. Another objective is to strengthen the EU's security and defence capabilities.

Von der Leyen spoke of EUR 500 billion for defence over a decade. This was the EurCom estimate of needed EU investment presented by its head at the EurCou meeting. Poland and France were among the countries that expected the EurCom to present possible options for financing defence investments before the summit, such as EU financing of common expenditure from a common borrowing. This idea was strongly opposed by Germany and the Netherlands, among others. In the end, von der Leyen decided to postpone the debate until after the constitution of the new EurCom, i.e. in the autumn. And the summit - after von der Leyen's oral presentation - only launched a preliminary debate on possible joint financing of defence projects.

Poland has submitted two defence projects. These might be co-financed by EU funds. On the eve of the summit, Poland and Greece presented in writing a detailed concept for an air defence system for the Union (Shield and Spear), which Prime Ministers Donald Tusk and Kyriakos Mitostakis had put forward - in a more general form - in May. In addition, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia presented the idea of jointly strengthening the defence infrastructure along the EU's borders with Russia and Belarus. Poland is pushing for the EU to go significantly beyond its current plans to support the defence industry with EU funds and agree to spend money on defence projects similar to the two proposals. But EU states are far from a consensus on the issue.

Zelensky signed a security agreement with the Union. The document, signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky in Brussels, commits all member states and the EU as a whole to "help Ukraine defend itself, resist efforts to destabilise it and deter future acts of aggression". The document recalls the EUR 5 billion the EU intends to allocate for military aid and training in 2024 (in addition to bilateral aid from EU countries to Kyiv). It says that "further comparable annual increases could be envisaged until 2027, based on Ukrainian needs" i.e. it could amount to up to EUR 20 billion. Ukraine's agreement with the EU comes on top of the bilateral security "guarantees" Ukraine has already signed with a dozen countries (including the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy). As Prime Minister Donald Tusk confirmed in Brussels, talks are also underway between Ukraine and Poland on the text of mutual commitments on security issues.

PI Alert

KO wins elections to the European Parliament

KO received 38.2 per cent of the vote and PiS 33.9 per cent, according to an exit poll by IPSOS. Konfederacja came in third with 11.9 per cent, followed by Trzecia Droga with 8.2 per cent, Lewica with 6.6 per cent, Bezpartyjni Samorządowcy with 0.8 per cent and Polexit with 0.3 per cent. According to the exit poll, KO gained 21 seats, PiS 19, Konfederacja 6, Trzecia Droga 4 and Lewica gained 3. The turnout was 39.7 per cent.

According to the European Parliament's first projection, the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), which includes, among others, PO and PSL, will remain the largest force with 181 MEPs in the 720-seat Parliament. The centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D), whose members include the Polish Lewica, should have 135 seats, whereas the liberal Renew Europe club (including Polska 2050) will have 82 seats. This gives a total of 398 seats to the coalition of these three centrist factions (EPP, S&D and Renew Europe) on which the European Commission under Ursula von der Leyen has relied on so far. The Green faction wins 53 seats according to the same projection, the European Conservatives and Reformists faction (including PiS) 71 seats and the radical right-wing Identity and Democracy 62 seats.