Risks and Trends

R&T 2021: On the economy, work and education

Preview 2021-02-18
What challenges the economy will face after the epidemic and how to prepare the educational system for the changing job market – this is what you will learn from Risks and Trends.

Economy (10.00)

What is the plan for the recovery. The first half of 2020 was marked by extreme uncertainty and nervous discussions about how big the post-lockdown crisis will be and whether the economic rebound will be V-, U- or even L-shaped. The economy has not yet come out of the Covid crisis, but it has taught politicians and management boards to listen, seek synergies and manage uncertainty through greater flexibility and the fastest possible reactions to the changing circumstances. Is this the time for multi-year plans or for permanent crisis management? How will companies prepare to operate under the circumstances of a creeping climate disaster?

Gowin on wanting to change the Polish economy in agreement with business. Deputy PM Jarosław Gowin has been MinDev since October 2020. Before that, he was MinSci in the PiS government from 2015 to 2020, and MinJus in the PO-PSL government from 2011 to 2013. The discussion about the MinDev’s ideas for the economy comes at a difficult time - there is turmoil in Porozumienie, Gowin's party. Work on the Polish "new order" is dragging on, and there is uncertainty and confusion within Zjednoczona Prawica. PI's Managing Director Andrzej Bobiński will try to determine how the deputy PM assesses his self-agency in shaping the development directions of the Polish economy. He will ask what role business should play the creation of next government plans, and what the MinDev wants to leave behind when he finishes his government mission.

Ducarroz about the obligations of operators towards the state and society. Julien Ducarroz has headed Orange Polska since September 2020. Prior to that, he was CEO of Orange Moldova for four years. During his 18-year career with the group, he has been associated, inter alia, with Orange Romania as director of strategy and CCO, as well as with Orange Nederland, where he was responsible for implementing performance management in six countries. Bobiński will ask him if the government's plans fit with Orange Polska's strategy. The participants will discuss Industry 4.0 and to what extent this once fashionable slogan is becoming a reality and what role telecommunications operators should play in the development of the industry. Bobiński and Ducarroz will also talk about the role that Orange wants to play in the decarbonisation of the economy and how the operator can counteract digital exclusion.

Brodin on how to deal with unpredictability. Jesper Brodin has been the president of the board of IngkaGroup (formerly IKEA Group) since September 2017. He has been with the IKEA Group since 1995. In the course of his career, he has held positions such as assistant to company founder Ingvar Kamprad and CEO Anders Dahlvig, and managing director for assortment and procurement at the Inter IKEA Group. Bobiński will ask Brodin for his opinion on the subject that runs throughout this year's Risks and Trends - to what extent the pandemic has changed everything, and to what extent it accelerated processes that had previously started. They will also talk about the organisation’s cost resulting from constant volatility that seems necessary to manage a business in times of plague.

Work and Education (15.00)

How to prepare for the future. In the future, social and professional life will be shaped by two conflicting trends: profound demographic changes and rapid technological progress. Has the coronavirus pandemic given us a foretaste of how the world of work and learning will have to adapt to the new reality? How to prepare to function in a world full of uncertainty? Should education be reformed and how, so that schools can be better prepared for contemporary challenges.

Albin on how automation will change the labour market. Rafał Albin has been director of marketing and operations at Microsoft Polska since August 2020. Previously, as CEE Enterprise Channel Management Lead, he supported the digital transformation process of Microsoft’s customers within the partner channel in Central and Eastern Europe. Before joining the Polish branch of Microsoft in 2009, he had been was associated with the distribution market for many years - he held a number of positions, mainly at AB SA. Economic analyst Hanna Cichy will ask him if and how much the process of economic automation has accelerated during the pandemic. Cichy and Albin will talk about the pros and cons of automation. They will also discuss which professions will gain in importance and which will disappear and how to prepare for these changes.

Ciesiołkiewicz, Micińska and Radwan on whether and how to adapt the educational system to the labour market. In the last interview of the day, President of the Management Board of the Orange Foundation Konrad Ciesiołkiewicz, educator and guidance counsellor Hanna Micińska, and head of the Foundation for Good Education Magdalena Radwan-Röhrenschef will talk about how students, teachers, parents and educational administrators survived a year of remote education. Cichy will ask how this experience highlighted the shortcomings of the system. Together, they will consider whether this is a good starting point for a conversation about fundamental school reform. The interviewees will also tackle questions about what, how and who should teach in Polish schools and beyond.


Education and the future of work

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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.