9th European Financial Congress

Sopot, 3-5 June 2019

Honorary Patronage
Previous editions


European Financial Congress, 2015
European Financial Congress, 2014
European Financial Congress, 2013
European Financial Congress, 2012
European Financial Congress, 2011


5th European Financial Congress, 22-24 June 2015

The 5th European Financial Congress, was held in Sopot, Poland, on 22-24 June 2015, under the Honorary Patronage of Donald Tusk, President of the European Council. The main theme of this year’s Congress was: European integration in the face of a security crisis.

The 5th European Financial Congress in Sopot took place during a special time for Europe, a time when after over twenty years geopolitics made its way back to economy. It is a moment when efforts taken in the particular countries and in the entire European Union can test the European solidarity and integration in the face of the security crisis we observe and experience. Will the previously worked out mechanisms and procedures, as well as the stability, innovation and solidarity within the European Union suffice vis-à-vis the risks which we have to face in the 21st century’s second decade? Having this in mind the opening debate of the Congress focused on fixing the Eurozone, as well as on opportunities and challenges connected with the European Capital Markets Union and Energy Union.

During the plenary session at the Congress opening, Mr Marek Belka, President of the National Bank of Poland delivered a keynote speech on Moral hazard on the financial markets.
The Congress’ Honorary Committee is chaired by Mr Lech Wałęsa and its Programme Board is chaired by Mr Jan Krzysztof Bielecki.
The debates during the second and third days of the Congress covered the following subject areas:

  • Security and development of the financial markets in the EU,
  • Challenges for the development of the capital market,
  • Value-based management of enterprises,
  • Sustainable financing of infrastructure.
The Congress ended with the announcing of Recommendations followed by an Oxford-Style debate titled “Without immigrants Europe is doomed to fail”. The Recommendations announced at the Congress closing ceremony allow not only to point out the most up-to-date challenges faced by the modern economy, but also to propose ways of resolving them. The Oxford-Style debate was an initiative of the EFC Academy members, involving students from Poland, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain and Ukraine.

4th European Financial Congress, 23-25 June 2014

The 4th European Financial Congress in Sopot took place during a special time for Europe, i.e. the time when after over twenty years geopolitics made its way back to economy. It is a moment when efforts taken in the particular countries and in the entire European Union can really test the European solidarity. In this situation, the Polish point of view, experience and proposals may provide inspiration for the process of further European integration and redefining security in the 21st century.

This year’s Congress was dominated by issues relating to financial security and energy security. The Congress delegates unanimously agreed that it was the foundation for further political integration.
This year, over one thousand and three hundred leading representatives of European and Polish authorities, regulatory and supervisory institutions, business, science, politics and the media accepted the invitation extended to them by the congress organizers to actively participate in the Congress debates.

The first day of the Congress

Already the first day of the Congress confirmed how important it is as a platform on which not only important questions are being asked but also practical solutions to problems facing Poland and Europe are being delivered. Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, chairman of the Programme Council of the European Financial Congress, stressed in his inaugural speech that the “Congress – thanks to the developed recommendations – continues to produce effects all year round. This year, we have expanded the scope of our discussions by energy security. I hope that opinions expressed during the Congress in Sopot will be considered important and will contribute to the discussions held in Poland and in Europe”, said Mr. Bielecki.

The objective of the plenary debate inaugurating the Congress was to answer the question whether further political integration of the EU and the increase of the European economy’s competitiveness are possible without ensuring financial and energy security. The discussion on finance was led by Jacek Rostowski, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in 2007-2013. The discussion participants included: Professor Danuta Hübner, Member of the European Parliament,

Yves Mersch, Member of the Management Board of the European Central Bank, Philippe Legrain, chief advisor to Jose Manuel Barroso in 2011-2014, Paul Ormerod, partner at Volterra, Andras Simor, Vice-President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Professor Hans-Werner Sinn, President of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Rolf Wenzel, Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank, and Zbigniew Jagiełło, President of PKO Bank Polski.

The energy security panel was divided into the European and Polish part. During the first one, the vision of the Europe’s energy future was shared by: Joschka Fischer, Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister of Germany in 1998-2005, Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, Günter Verheugen, European Commissioner for Enlargement in 1999-2004 and European Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry in 2004-2010. The discussion was hosted by Janusz Lewandowski, European Budget and Financial Planning Commissioner.

The second part of the debate, focusing on Poland’s challenges, was facilitated by Jan Krzysztof Bielecki. The panel participants included: Jan Chadam, President of the Management Board of Gas Transmission Operator Gaz-System S.A., Piotr Chełmiński, Member of the Management Board of PKN ORLEN, Ireneusz Łazor, President of the Management Board of Towarowa Giełda Energii S.A., Henryk Majchrzak, President of the Management Board of PSE S.A., Marcin Moskalewicz, President of the Management Board of PERN "Przyjaźń” S.A. and Marek Woszczyk, President of the Management Board of PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna S.A.

The subject of innovation was once again raised in the Forest Opera at the end of the first day during the meeting with Dan Breznitz, Professor of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University in Toronto, expert on pro-innovation systems and on innovation globalization as well as a pioneer of the research on influence of innovative strategies on the economic growth.


The second and third day of the 4th European Financial Congress

The second and third day of the 4th European Financial Congress hosted over thirty debates and meetings devoted to four key issues of this year’s Congress: security and development of the banking system, challenges relating to the development of the capital market, sustainable infrastructure financing and management of company goodwill.

Debates on financing infrastructure development began with the speech of Laszlo Baranyay, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank. Debates on the security and development of the banking system started with the speech of Professor Hans-Werner Sinn, whose bitter evaluation of the condition and future of the euro zone was one of the most emotional addresses on the second day of the European Financial Congress.

Proposals of practical solutions to challenges and problems facing Poland and Europe were traditionally formulated in a Recommendation of the European Financial Congress, and will be provided to Polish and EU decision makers and the media. “Each of the presented recommendations is a result of a months-long pro bono work of Steering Committees. During the Congress, we announce the most important recommendations that were chosen by way of a consensus. However, in order to preserve the thoughts and output of the Congress’ annual efforts, from this year on we recommend publications of the European Financial Congress”, summed up Professor Leszek Pawłowicz, director of the Gdańsk Academy of Banking and Vice-President of the Institute for Research on Market Economy – a co-organiser of the European Financial Congress.

One of the Congress’ recommendations involving the need of closer cooperation between the business environment and universities was put forward by members of the EFC Academy. The Academy project, this year’s novelty during the Congress, will be continued in the next years. “The ability to combine different perspectives in order to develop the best solutions has always been one of the Congress’ strengths. The opinions of young people contribute greatly to the Congress’ output”, stressed Mateusz Morawiecki, President of the Management Board of Bank Zachodni WBK, which provides patronage for the Academy. Under the Academy’s auspices, over a hundred students from Poland and Ukraine were able to meet and talk with Polish business leaders and participate in specially organized workshops.

This year’s Congress ended with a session entitled Discover the business side of Africa, which was devoted to presentation of the economic potential and the investment offer of Ghana, Mozambique and Senegal.


3rd European Financial Congress, 24-26 June 2013

For the third time more than 1 000 leading European and domestic politicians, as well as representatives of business and science sought an answer to the question concerning the best scenario for Europe and Poland. The leading themes of the Congress were financial security and sustainable development of Europe and Poland.

The 3rd European Financial Congress was opened by Bogdan Borusewicz, Speaker of the Polish Senate.


The most frequently heard phrase during the first day of the Congress was "banking union".

This very topical issue was touched upon by Jacek Rostowski, Poland's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Steffen Kampeter, Parliamentary Secretary of State in the Federal Ministry of Finance of Germany, Janusz Lewandowski, EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget, Joschka Fischer, Vice-Chancellor of Germany in 1998-2005, as well as Boris Vujcic, President of the National Bank of Croatia, a country that has just joined the European Union as its 28 member state.

The issue of whether and under what conditions the Banking Union should be joined by the countries staying outside the euro area was discussed later during the debate "Financial security and the integration of the European Union" moderated by Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, Chairman of the European Financial Congress Programme Board. The participants of the panel engaged in a lively discussion fuelled by Professor Avinash Persaud of the London Business School, who defended the thesis that the banking union would mean the death of the European Union. In the debate participated also Professor Joshua Aizenman of the University of Southern California, Professor David Mayes of the University of Auckland and Professor Dariusz Filar of the University of Gdansk, who aptly summed up – Outs have doubts – referring to the reservations expressed by the "outside" countries.

The first day of the 3rd European Financial Congress culminated with the speech by Professor Roman Frydman of the New York University "Did Capitalism Fail? The Financial Crisis Five Years On". The Professor partially blamed economists for the financial crisis. He pointed out that Poland belongs to the group of "happy" latecomer countries.

The second and third day of the 3rd European Financial Congress consisted of almost thirty debates dedicated to four key themes of this year's Congress: security and development of the banking system, challenges for the development of the capital market, sustainable financing of infrastructure, and managing the value of companies.

The second day of the 3rd European Financial Congress

otworzył Werner Hoyer, prezes Europejskiego Banku Inwestycyjnego, który w swoim wystąpieniu wskazał najważniejsze europejskie inicjatywy sprzyjające finansowaniu infrastruktury.

The day opened with a speech by Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, who pointed out the most important European initiatives which facilitate financing of infrastructure. During the subsequent debates the participants tried to answer such questions, inter alia, as: How to motivate managers of strategic companies to combine pressure on immediate profitability with long-term development? Is the stock market exchange still a tool for raising capital and valuation or is it just speculation? How to manage the dividend policy of entities with the participation of the State Treasury in order to reconcile needs of the budget with the long-term building of the company value? How to develop business strategies in the energy sector in times of uncertainty?

The day ended with a gala dinner at the Forest Opera in Sopot, which was hosted by Jacek Karnowski, the Mayor of Sopot.

On the last day, the Russian language joined the official languages of the 3rd European Financial Congress as the Forum "Dialogue and business: Poland - Russia" was launched in Sopot.

The official inauguration of the Forum "Dialogue and business: Poland - Russia" opened the third day of the Congress. Inaugural speeches were given by Waldemar Pawlak, former Prime Minister of Poland, Igor Barskow, Chairman of the Kaliningrad Region Government Delegation at the Government of the Russian Federation, Beata Stelmach, Undersecretary of State in the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Andrzej Dycha, Undersecretary of State in the Polish Ministry of Economy, and Paweł Adamowicz, Mayor of the City of Gdansk.

This day was also used to sum up the discussions on the Banking Union concept, as well as to work out a common position on "Whether and when the countries outside the euro area should join the Banking Union?” Debates on sustainable development of infrastructure served as a ground to seek remedies for the shortage of equality of parties in the infrastructural processes, as well as a forum for the discussion of challenges for the energy market. The debate on the impact of open pension funds on the capital market and the country's development coincided with the Polish government's announcement of a review of the pension system.

Traditionally, the European Financial Congress culminated with recommendations developed by its participants, the Congress Programme Board and Steering Committees overseeing the content-related value of the Congress. – Each of the recommendations has been discussed for several months, so they are very well justified. They will be submitted to all institutions involved in the areas that we discussed, members of parliaments and the media, with a request to monitor the changes that are necessary for the development of not only the financial sector but the whole economy – the Congress was closed by Professor Leszek Pawlowicz, Director of the European Financial Congress.



2nd European Financial Congress, 23-25 May 2012

The recent years have completely redefined the global economic order and have demonstrated the need for discussion about the new shape of Europe. The second wave of the crisis sweeping through the world which threatens to destabilise the economies in the long run, including all political and social consequences involved, forces us to seek answers to questions how to improve the foundations of the modern economy. The improvement needs to be comprehensive and far-reaching, covering both detailed solutions and the rules on which the modern market structure is based. The effectiveness of anti-crisis measures and policies initiated in the European Union turned out to be insufficient to reverse the downward trends and regain trust on financial markets.

Poland, a country which coped best with the crisis in the scale of the entire continent, is currently facing a great chance. An economy built on strong foundations, a well-established position in the European Union structures, and also a fresh look at the issues connected with its operation; owing to all those factors, we may become an important and attentively listened to voice in the debate on the future of the European Community.

Opening of the 2nd European Financial Congress

The Congress opened with the debate "How to overcome the crisis of confidence in financial markets?" moderate by Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, former Prime Minister of Poland and Chairman of the European Financial Congress Programme Board.

The aim of the debate was to answer the question as to how new regulations on the EU financial market and the remedial actions taken by some EU member states governments can affect market mechanisms and competition on the single financial market of the EU.

The debate focused on threats connected with the possible bankruptcy of some EU member states, in particular, on the relations between insolvency of EU member states governments and insolvency of major banks operating trans-border.

Polish perspective:

  • Mikołaj Budzanowski, Minister of the Treasury
  • Andrzej Jakubiak, Chairman of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority
  • Zbigniew Jagiełło, President of Management Board PKO Bank Polski
  • Krzysztof Kilian, President of Management Board PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA
  • Jacek Krawiec, President of Management Board PKN Orlen
  • Luigi Lovaglio, President of Management Board Bank Pekao SA
  • Mateusz Morawiecki, President of Management Board Bank Zachodni WBK
  • Ludwik Sobolewski, CEO and president of the Warsaw Stock Exchange

European perspective:

  • Joaquin Almunia, Vice-President of the European Commission
  • Janusz Lewandowski, EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget
  • Jürgen Ligi, Estonian Minister of Finance
  • Paul H. Dembinski, Director of ther L’Observatoire de la Finance
  • Moritz Kraemer, managing director at Standard & Poor’s
  • Timothy J. Stone, Global Senior Advisor KPMG
  • James Quigley, Vice-chairman of Global Investment and Corporate Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Other keynote speakers at the 2nd European Financial Congress:

  • Jan Vincent-Rostowski, Minister of Finance
  • Jörg Asmussen, Member of Management Board, European Central Bank
  • Dominique Cerutti, President and Deputy CEO NYSE Euronext


Recommendations of the “2nd European Financial Congress”

  • Defending fair competition
  • As much power as responsibility
  • More market in the banking sector
  • Protection of the deposit market against moral hazard
  • Shale gas – opportunity for improving a competitive position of the European Union
  • Better national wealth management
  • Idea for infrastructure
  • Do not stop the development of tenement houses
  • Low-cost digital citizen identification


The 2nd European Financial Congress was attended by close to 1000 representatives of business, central and local governments, as well as universities and higher education institutions from Europe and USA. 170 speakers took part in 25 debates.