Pawlak and Nilsson

After a chilly jog in the Lazienki Krolewskie park, to the Chancellery of the Prime Minister for the Conference on ‘Sources of Sustainable Growth after the Crisis’. After the Conference opening key note speeches, by the EESC’s President, Staffan Nilsson and the Polish deputy Prime Minister, Waldermar Pawlak, two rich and fascinating panel discussions took place: one on the economic and environmental aspects, and one on the employment and social aspects, of sustainable growth. The latter was kick-started with a keynote address by Polish minister Michal Boni. The panels were replete with economists, trades unionists, environmentalists and other experts, including a number of the Committee’s own members and, of course, the discussions overlapped considerably (they also overlapped with the themes discussed in The Hague the previous week). How can member states rebalance their budgets whilst also stimulating economic activity? Is there a conflict between growth and sustainability? How best to stimulate innovation and creativity? Is ‘Europe’ no longer enough? How to ensure solidarity – between individuals, population groups, member states and generations? How to respond to the demographic challenge? How to make sure that ‘green’ jobs are decent jobs? I don’t have the space here to report on the many elements of response given, but there was a sort of measured optimism that the current crisis will be overcome in a wise way. Which is just as well for, as President Nilsson put it in his opening address, ‘if we don’t believe in our future why should anybody else?’