PZU
 

About the Project

Growing Europe, a PZU initiative, seeks to recognize and promote Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as the world’s fastest growing developed market and one that is also its most stable emerging market. By promoting business cooperation among leaders from across CEE the Growing Europe initiative also aims to further the region’s democratic and economic development.

Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) includes over 100 million people in 11 EU countries with a combined GDP of €1,2 trillion. In 2018, CEE’s GDP accounted for almost 20% of economic growth of the European Union. CEE’s tech sector is growing rapidly and the ecosystem is blossoming. Currently there are around 30,000 startups (including 12 unicorns with a combined value of €30 billion). 

CEE’s democracies are members of NATO, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Seven countries from the region ranked in the top ten fastest growing economies in the European Union. Indeed, CEE offers investors a unique combination of stability and security offered by these institutions with returns that match those of the developing world.

 

 

Venue Map

 

Events

VIP lunch with the President of Poland: “Can CEE countries become the next global technology hub?” (by invitation only)

Tuesday (21.01.2020), Hotel Belvedere, 11:30 – 13:30
VIP lunch: Can CEE countries become the next global technology hub?
Guest of Honour: President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda 
Speakers: Professor Mariana Mazzucato , Professor Nouriel Roubini, Jean-Philippe Courtois (Microsoft Global)
(debate in English, hotel badges will be provided, please reserve 15min for security procedures at the entrance)
 
Abstract: 
Since the EU accession FDI stock in CEE countries has increased almost four-fold. Large part of the investments was made in highly advanced industries such as automotive, airspace, industrial machinery or telecom sector. On the other hand true innovative activity is still limited, with R&D outlays to GDP ratio amounting still to only half of WE average. Global companies make effective use of local highly skilled and relatively cheap labour force to optimise their production processes, but still do not fully utilize the real potential of the local human capital. It seems countries of the region have many advantages to become true technology hubs, but some important factors (economic, geopolitical, regulatory) effectively prevent this ambition from being realized.  
  • What makes a successful tech hub? What are the key missing links in case of CEE countries?
  • Do CEE countries effectively attract global tech companies? 
  • How can CEE countries join forces to develop the technology hub on a global scale?
  • Following the leaders. What are the lessons from those who succeeded? 

Official opening of the Polish House by the President of Poland Polish Night

Tuesday (21.01.2020), Polish House, 18:30-22:00

Venue: Polish House

Debate: “Growing Europe: The Economic Vitality of Central and Eastern Europe”

Wednesday (22.01.2020), Polish House, 7:00 - 9:00

Debate: Growing Europe: The Economic Vitality of Central and Eastern Europe
Honored Guests:  Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland, Juri Ratas, Prime Minister of Estonia
(debate in English) 

Abstract:
Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) includes over 100 million people in 11 EU countries with a combined GDP of €1,2 trillion. In 2018, CEE’s GDP accounted for almost 20% of economic growth of the European Union. CEE’s tech sector is growing rapidly and the ecosystem is blossoming. Currently there are around 30,000 startups (including 12 unicorns with a combined value of €30 billion). 

CEE’s democracies are members of NATO, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Seven countries from the region ranked in the top ten fastest growing economies in the European Union. Indeed, CEE offers investors a unique combination of stability and security offered by these institutions with returns that match those of the developing world. 
The region’s political and business leadership is determined to drive this growth well into the next decade and beyond. 

Their Presidents and Governments launched the Three Seas Initiative to accelerate the development of cross-border energy, transport and digital infrastructure - an undertaking that promises to enhance economic growth and resilience and deepen ties within the region and across Europe. A Business Council representing the leading commercial entities of CEE will be announced at Davos and will better enable these countries to leverage the mass of their combined markets. A new regional CEE+ Index, newly created by the Warsaw Stock Exchange underscores the unity, vibrancy and growth of this region. 
The Growing Europe panel discuss the regional economic dynamics, governmental initiatives, and commercial undertakings whose confluence promises to sustain, if not increase, the positive growth momentum of Central and Eastern Europe.

Announcement: CEE Business Council

Wednesday (22.01.2020), Polish House, 9:00-9:15

Announcement: CEE Business Council
(announcement in English)

Announcement of the CEE Business Council, composed of CEO’s of the biggest companies in the region. CEE Business Council will actively promote Central and Eastern Europe as interesting investment theme worldwide as well as support its members interests through global networks in business and politics. It attempts to provide a platform for international investors to discuss and identify common interests and exchange information regarding their economic activities in the CEE region. CEE Business Council will better enable companies and countries to leverage the mass of their combined markets.  

CEE Business Council will be a vital part of Growing Europe, PZU initiative which seeks to recognize and promote Central and Eastern Europe as the world’s fastest growing developed market and one that is also its most stable emerging market.  By promoting business cooperation among leaders from across CEE the Growing Europe initiative also aims to further the region’s democratic and economic development. In the current environment of very low yields and limited investment opportunities globally, it is very important that the promising investment story of the region is told to the world and is supported by regional initiatives.

Debate: “Collaboration Among Banks and with Government Benefiting Economic Growth”

Wednesday (22.01.2020), Polish House, 9:30-11:00

Debate: Collaboration Among Banks and with Government Benefiting Economic Growth
Speakers: Minister of Finance Tadeusz Kościński, Professor Nouriel Roubini
(debate in English)

Abstract: 
Collaboration among banks and with government is on the rise thanks to digitalization and European integration. Many key barriers to growth and industry challenges are best addressed through collaboration. By partnering with banks, governments can more effectively deliver financial support (e.g. loan guarantees for SMEs), achieve policy objectives (e.g. shift to non-cash payments), and provide e-services (e.g. digitalized signatures and administration). Collaborative projects among banks are helping the industry better address risk (e.g. credit bureaus), operational efficiency (e.g. shared infrastructure), and regulatory compliance (e.g. common API standards). These many examples of collaborative projects have in common a resulting improvement in competitiveness and overall business climate. This demonstrates that rising collaboration improves conditions for economic growth. While regulation is helping ensure collaboration in some common essential areas (e.g. deposit insurance fund), countries’ best practices in commercial partnerships and incentive models should be promoted to increase adoption. How to elevate collaboration in Europe to next level for the benefit of citizens and businesses? What are key accelerators and roadblocks on that path? What should be the role of different stakeholders?    

Debate: CEE Unicorns at the forefront of the European tech (TBC)

Wednesday (22.01.2020), Polish House, 15:00-16:30

Venue: Polish House

High-level debate: Tax Cooperation: How to Avoid the Race to the Bottom

Wednesday (22.01.2020), Polish House, 19:00-21:30

High-level debate: Tax Cooperation: How to Avoid the Race to the Bottom

Abstract: 

The problem of a reliable taxation system is crucial and should be tackled by combined forces of the international community. Collecting taxes is not only one of the basic tasks of every state. When done effectively, it is also a key element of building trust among the state and market actors by providing them with a level playing field. Thus, it fulfills an essential role in increasing competitiveness which is healthy and based on transparent rules. 

The European economy cannot fully spread its wings when losing billions of euros per year. Nowadays the tax loss caused by tax havens is ¼ higher than the EU’s current budget. It means that if we eliminate the loss, we can reinforce the EU’s budget and spend the money on the Green New Deal or fighting against climate change. That could also be a solution to a reduced budget after Brexit. 

During this debate, the Polish Economic Institute, a governmental think-tank from Poland, will outline the top leakages in European tax systems in PIT, CIT and VAT. Some of them being fraudulent and some connected with aggressive tax optimisation.  

 

7:00 p.m. – start of the conference

Opening address – Beata Daszyńska-Muzyczka, President of Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego – Polish Development Bank (5 min.)
Video – Overview of the Polish Economic Institute’s report results – Tax unfairness in the European Union – towards greater solidarity in fighting tax evasion (5 min.)
High-level debate – ’Tax Cooperation: How to Avoid a Race to the Bottom’ (60 min.):
Moderation: Piotr Arak, Director of Polish Economic Institute

 

Participants:

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President of the European Commission

José Ángel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General 

Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Economy and Finance, France

Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister of Poland

 

8:10 p.m. – Q&A round with the participants

8:20 p.m. – dinner/cocktail for the conference participants

9:30 p.m. – planned end of the debate

Debate: “Lifting Central Europe’s ambitions: How to unleash Europe’s new growth engine?”

Thursday (23.01.2020), Polish House, 9:00-10:30
Debate: Lifting Central Europe’s ambitions: How to unleash Europe’s new growth engine?
(debate in English)
 
Abstract: 
Since the transition to a market economy three decades ago, Central Europe has enjoyed a golden age of growth. The region recorded on average a 114% increase in GDP per capita between 1996 and 2017 compared to an increase of 27% percent in the European Union’s largest economies. At the same time Central Europe has become one of the most attractive places to invest in globally, has significantly narrowed the economic gap to Western Europe, and  delivered a step-improvement of local living standards. Today the CE countries together represent €1.4 trillion of GDP, making them equivalent of the 12th-largest global economy. While the current engines of growth are losing momentum, e.g. the labor-cost advantages, basic productivity convergence, EU infrastructure funding; the CE region needs to rethink its future economic growth model. Central European states need to focus on new growth drivers leveraging its natural strengths and tapping into the global trends shifting the world economy. There are several, non-exhaustive options to consider as priorities. For example: 
  • Creating talent-first economies and tapping into the new potential 
  • Accelerating the leading-growth sectors
  • Developing infrastructure that encourages economic transformation
  • Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Business leaders should raise their sights and set new ambitions, both for their own organizations and for collaboration across private and public sectors on fundamentally important projects for the future.

Debate: “CEEplus index: Opportunities and benefits for the CEE and investors”

Thursday (23.01.2020), Polish House, 17:00-18:00
Debate: “CEEplus index: Opportunities and benefits for the CEE and investor” with participation of the Financial Times
(debate in English)
 
Abstract:
CEEplus index is a part of the ongoing collaboration among the CEE region’s capital markets. The project ensures that the CEE exchanges speak with a stronger voice across debates concerning EU capital markets.
 
PZU joins the Warsaw Stock Exchange and other regional exchanges in this unique initiative which demonstrates the activity and aspirations of the Three Seas Initiative economies. CEEplus is a price index and the underlying of a PZU’s passive fund: inPZU Akcje CEEplus.
The panel discussion's objectives are to:
  • Examine the rationale behind the creation of a joint index of CEE Exchanges
  • Explicate PZU’s decision to support the CEE+ index by creating an investment solution (index fund)
  • Explore the advantages that index inclusion brings to companies from the CEE region
  • Highlight the economic attractiveness of CEE 
  • Identify actions needed to promote CEE on the global investment stage
Goal: Promoting Central and Eastern European countries as an investment destination for public and private investors under the theme “Growing Europe”. Launching of a new PZU’s fund inPZU Akcje CEEplus.
 
Context: CEEplus index has been published by the Warsaw Stock Exchange since September 4, 2019 based on the value of the portfolio of the largest and most liquid companies listed on stock exchanges from the Central and Eastern region - Croatia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary. The base value of CEEplus index was set at September 3, 2019 at the level of 1,000.00 points. It is a price index and thus when it is calculated it accounts only for prices of underlying shares whereas dividend income is excluded. The weight of individual company in the index portfolio is limited to 10%, while the total share of companies, each of which exceeds 5%, is limited to 40%. The weight of companies from one stock exchange from the region may not exceed 50%.
 
The launch of a joint exchange index for companies from the CEE is also a major step towards closer regional co-operation, which opens the region not only to rest of Europe but to the entire world.
 
New inPZU Akcje CEEplus is a passive index fund under the PZU’s innovative and award-winning fund umbrella inPZU that tracks the performance of CEE plus index.  The fund will be available for investors on the online distribution platform www.inPZU.pl.
This panel is part of Growing Europe, a PZU initiative which seeks to recognize and promote Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as the world’s fastest growing developed market and one that is also its most stable emerging market.  By promoting business cooperation among leaders from across CEE the Growing Europe initiative also aims to further support the region’s democratic and economic development.
 
The CEE region today represents 100 million people in 11 countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) with a combined GDP of €1,2 trillion. In 2018, CEE’s GDP accounted for almost 20% of economic growth of the European Union.
 
During the last two decades, GDP in the CEE region has grown on average more than twice as fast as that of the European Union 15. This positive growth divergence of the CEE versus Western Europe became even more apparent in 2019, with 7 countries from the region ranked in the top 10 fastest growing economies in the European Union. According to the European Commission, the biggest country of the region – Poland – is expected to grow at 4.2% in 2020, which is going to be the EU’s second highest growth rate, 3 times higher than the projected EU average of 1.4% and substantially exceeding what is expected for major economies including Italy (0.1%) and Germany (0.5%). As a result CEE countries, which represent around 10% of the total volume of EU GDP, contribute twice as much to EU growth rate and deserve recognition as Europe's growth engine or simply Growing Europe.
 
In the current environment of very low yields and limited investment opportunities globally, it is very important that the promising investment story of the region be told to the world and supported by regional initiatives such as the CEE+ Index, recently established by the Warsaw Stock Exchange in corporation with other regional exchanges.
We believe that such initiatives offer a unique chance to bring together capital market participants from CEE as well as global investors (investment funds, VC and PE players), whose cross-border cooperation, especially in the field of new technology, 5G, infrastructure and renewable energy, will create a platform for maintaining and enhancing the positive growth momentum of the Three Seas Initiative region and successfully transform it into a hub for digital growth in the future.
 
The convergence of the CEE region fundamentals and the development path of its capital markets was recognized by last year's upgrade of Poland from emerging to developed market by FTSE Russell, giving a clear signal that the case for Growing Europe should become an interesting investment theme with the potential to outperform some already established propositions like, for example, the BRICS, considered as benchmark for other countries.

News

Friday 17.01

50th Anniversary Edition of the World Economic Forum: PZU and Pekao jointly open the Polish House in Davos, Switzerland

  • The World Economic Forum takes place in Davos, Switzerland, from 21 to 24 January 2020
  • The event is one of the biggest gatherings of global business leaders
  • The annual Forum brings together leaders of politics, science and business, including government officials and CEOs of the biggest companies and corporations
  • The Polish House, a unique Polish business space, opens for the second time at the World Economic Forum in Davos by the initiative of PZU and Bank Pekao
  • The Polish House will open for visitors on 21 January

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