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Home > Events > Conferences > Polish-Spanish Roundtable at PISM

Polish-Spanish Roundtable at PISM

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27 May 2013
photo Anna Kulikowska - Kasper
How to cooperate in a Europe in flux? This is the question experts from PISM and the Real Instituto Elcano were attempting to answer during Polish-Spanish Roundtable, a discussion took place at the Polish Institute of International Affairs on 27 May 2013. The panellists were focusing on the economic crisis in both the eurozone and non-eurozone EU Member States. They also  discussed the European Global Strategy, which may be a way to reinvigorate EU foreign policy. Another topic on the agenda was bilateral cooperation between Poland and Spain and the search for new opportunities in the EU and beyond. The Polish-Spanish Roundtable was opened by Beata Wojna, Deputy Director of PISM, and Charles Powell, Director of Real Instituto Elcano. Among the participants was Henryka Mościcka-Dendys, Undersecretary of State for Parliamentary Affairs, European Policy, and Human Rights at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The new challenges for the EU and the potential for Spanish–Polish cooperation were identified in a keynote speech given by Henryka Mościcka-Dendys, the Undersecretary of State for Parliamentary Affairs, European Policy and Human Rights for the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mościcka-Dendys said the crisis has made Europe’s future uncertain, so therefore stronger and more effective cooperation between enthusiastic EU countries such as Poland and Spain is very much needed. Both countries are  in agreement in many fields and their involvement especially in deepening the internal market is remarkable. In this context, Poland and Spain can be called “Europe’s bridges”, and it is a highly visible trend.
When searching for solutions to limit new division lines between eurozone and non-eurozone Member States in times of economic crisis, a consensus on managing economic turbulences must be made. The need to decrease some EU countries’ indebtedness and add support for growth-oriented solutions were identified as the two axes that should be strengthened at the EU level. Further deepening the EMU (through an integrated financial, budgetary and economic policy framework) is the proper way to go forward. It must be supported, however, by adequate performance on the part of particular Member States in implementing reforms.
Notwithstanding the problem of tackling internal EU problems, the Community must stay active in external relations in order to face global trends, shifts in U.S. politics as well as in strengthening its position in relation to crucial global players. The European Global Strategy worked out by such think tanks as PISM and Elcano might be a basis for policymakers to use to reinvigorate EU foreign policy. The premises of the strategy have been discussed and involve the creation of a new Atlantic strategic partnership and more engagement in the neighbourhood. Notably, European Neighbourhood Policy must be reinvigorated. The EU obliged itself with the Treaty of Lisbon (Art.8) to deliver ambitious policy in this respect. In this context, Member States should push for a more effective EEAS based on a current review, rethink the conditions it places upon its neighbours and further differentiate the EU’s offer towards countries to the south and east. Polish–Spanish cooperation on the EU level must be supported by bilateral cooperation.
The session consisted of government officials, policy experts and business representatives to create a perfect format for discussing conditions for cooperation and for highlighting barriers. Spain is currently the sixth largest investor in Poland, and economic relations are increasing in several sectors, including manufacturing. Spanish companies are attracted to Poland by its stable economy and relatively cheap and well-qualified labour force. Still, further cooperation could be developed in areas such as renewable energy. Poland can also play a role as a bridge for Spanish investors looking towards Eastern Europe. Another area identified as potentially worth following up with further discussion was the administrative rules of Polish public procurement law and its lengthy procedures, which are to some extent burdensome for businesses.

Authors: Morgane Hoarau, Karolina Zubel

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