16th Economic Forum of Young Leaders


September 7-9, 2021



9 SEPTEMBER 2021 - DAY 3


Panel discussion:
Economic relations in Europe from the perspective of the young generation

This year we are celebrating the jubilees of many key initiatives for cooperation and peace in Europe. It has been 30 years of the Polish-German "Treaty of Good Neighbourship and Friendly Cooperation" and the establishment of the Visegrad Group. Currently, more and more young people, raised in times of peace and economic cooperation, are entering the world of business, politics and social activity. Does this prove the success of the assumptions made 30 years ago, or is it merely a contribution to building a lasting friendship? Are treaties established three decades ago solely a legal document for young people? Or maybe a relationship that needs to be nurtured?

Moderator: Marek Stefan – Editor at „Układ Sił” newspaper

  • Bartłomiej Orzeł – Plenipotentiary of the Prime Minister for “Clean Air” Program
  • Cornelius Ochmann – Director, Member of the Board Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation, Germany
  • Barbara Richstein – Vice-President, Landtag Brandenburg, Germany
  • Edgar Kobos – Youth Delegate of the Republic of Poland to the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly.
  • Bartosz Kubiak – Chairman of the Board, AWO

Barriers are disappearing, a generation of Europeans has grown up who do not remember closed borders. After these decades, the turbulence of crisis uncertainty has come - climate sanction wars, a crisis of leadership in Europe. - We will talk about these challenges - began Mr. Marek Stefan, editor of the "Układ Sił".

Edgar Kobos referred to the situation on the post-pandemic labor market - The employee has much more freedom in choosing a workplace than in the times when I was looking for an internship or job myself. Climate change has a huge impact on the functioning of young people and the labor market. The increasing popularization of renewable energy sources causes a greater and growing demand for people with technical education.
Young people should learn flexibility now, - Mr. Kobos added

Mr. Stefan asked a question about the role of young people in the energy transformation.

Bartłomiej Orzeł replied as follows - You should look at it from two sides, energy - departure from coal in the 'large' power industry and individual heating. This will cause changes in the labor market and in the coal industry - a specific offer must be created not only for people working in the mining industry, but also in transport services, and in regions based on the coal economy in general. Young people entering the labor market will not take over from their father and grandfather, but will go on to work in IT and technical professions.

Each generation is waiting for its turning point, for our grandparents it was, unfortunately, a sad war moment, for our parents' generation it was the fall of communism, while for our generation such a breakthrough may be the energy transformation, which may allow us to really redefine ourselves - program indicators "Fit for 55" and "European Green Deal" are unpleasant news for Poland as they will require much more work. Perhaps, however, we should look for a specific opportunity in this and define by this question what kind of society we want to be in twenty years - commented Bartosz Kubiak, adding at the same time - I have the impression that no one really tries to ask people on the spot what is really going on, there was no broader public consultation in the context of this “Just Transition” Plan. We have a great privilege that we sit in this room, we read a lot, but it is very difficult for us to put on the shoes of a man who works in shifts, for example, or goes to the mine for a shift.

The German perspective of the discussed changes was presented by Ms. Barbara Richstein, Vice-President of the Landtag of Brandenburg. - The conversation of the previous speakers was very interesting, because we are facing the same problems in Germany. I come from the Brandenburg region where we too have to move away from coal and we also have a similar struggle in this regard. How high will unemployment be? There are a lot of people working in mining and they are not familiar with the digital environment so we have to restructure the whole sector and we are very lucky to have been helped by the European Union's “Just Transition” program as this is not just a local problem but it is a matter global.

Ms. Richstein developed her statement: - So, referring to the previous speaker that everything is changeable, I recently looked at the Polish-German" Treaty of Good Neighborhood and Friendly Cooperation "and it was quite funny seeing at least three articles about peace, about being friendly towards each other, but there's no word on digitization there, and there's only one article on collaborative research. After all, you young people must find each other and renew these relationships - this is a job that you, the young generation, must do.

Cornelius Ochmann made the following statement:

- As a representative of the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation, let me say two words about our approach - we are a child of the Polish-German treaty that Mrs. Richstein spoke about, which was signed thirty years ago and over the years the foundation has supported and continues to support various Polish-German projects. During these thirty years, we supported over 16 thousand projects worth 312 million zlotys. We are trying to implement Polish-German cooperation also when it comes to energy cooperation, because it is no secret that we have two different approaches here. I see this different approach to the energy transformation as one of the great problems in Polish-German relations in the coming years and we, as a foundation, are interested in organizing a forum of young people, not just experts, because experts know each other, meet regularly and create their own analyzes.

When asked about the summary of the 30 years of the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation, Mr. Ochmann replied as follows:

- I would divide the thirty years of Polish-German cooperation into three such periods. The first were the nineties, where both in Poland and in Germany, issues related to internal transformation were dominant.  I see a change in strategy at the time of Poland's admission to NATO, and then, of course, in 2004, when Poland joined the EU. Of course, for the average citizen, 2007 was more important - joining the Schengen area, probably people in Poland and Germany felt it more than even joining the EU. After that, the first years of the 21st century, where economic cooperation takes place, and if we compare the situation from 2004 and the economic situation today, we can see gigantic differences. After accession to the EU, Polish-German trade exchange was worth around 16-17 billion marks. Currently, the trade exchange amounts to over EUR 100 billion. Poland is the 4th largest economic partner of Germany.

- Of course, in the last 4-5 years there have been many new challenges, historical topics dominate, due to the pandemic the youth exchange has declined, but after thirty years the balance is positive, although it can be even better - Director Ochmann summed up


Panel discussion:
Competences of the Young Leader in the postpandemic world

Young people are growing up in a world of constant and rapid changes in the labor market. Does the world need obedient professionals or young, competitive pretenders challenging the seniors of business and politics? Will the pandemic redefine key competences on labor market? Will the ability to quickly change the industry become the most important skill on the labor market?

Moderator: Paulina Haratym-Niścior – Director of the International Department, European Meeting Centre – Nowy Staw Foundation

  • Piotr Mazurek – Secretary of State in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, Government Plenipotentiary for Youth Policy, Vice-President of the Public Interest Committee
  • Justyna Orłowska – Plenipotentiary of the Prime Minister for GovTech The Chancellery of the Prime Minister
  • Wojciech Kaczmarczyk – Director, National Freedom Institute – Centre for Civil Society Development
  • Tomasz Michałowski – “For the City” Association
  • Mateusz Grochowski – Chairman, The Students’ Parliament of the Republic of Poland
  • Michał Tarnowski – Vice-chairman, AWO

The debate was started by Ms. Paulina Haratym-Niścior - director of the international department of the European Meeting Center - Nowy Staw Foundation. The first series of questions concerned the key competences of the Young Leader

When asked by Minister Piotr Mazurek - Secretary of State, Chancellery of the Prime Minister, Government Plenipotentiary for youth policy, he answered as follows - In fact, this is a fairly broad question when it comes to a young leader, because we can ask ourselves who a young leader is. Here, of course, on the one hand, we mean social activists, people involved in civic activities, in non-governmental organizations, in youth councils, various projects and initiatives, but I also think that this phrase can be applied to economic, political and many other areas of life, in which leadership qualities are needed.

You definitely need the ability to work under time pressure, the ability to also have such dynamism, a certain possible change all the time, a certain uncertainty. These are, of course, situations that a leader, if he wants to be a real leader, has to anticipate, must manage and adapt to them, and I think we could point out a whole range of qualities.

The same question was addressed by Mr. Tomasz Michałowski, President of the Association for the City, Member of the Program Council of the Foundation for the Development of the Education System - I think that the topic of our discussion today is very important and necessary. Research shows that by 2030, 75% of all working people will be so-called millennials, people who were born after 1980. Therefore, we must pay particular attention to those who will enter this labor market because they will be the leaders who will decide about our future.

Today, these leaders, first and foremost (...) must be brave like leaders, but they must be very flexible, because the number of these changes will be very, very large and it is crucial for these leaders to be brave but also to be able to quickly adapt to these changes, which will progress more and more quickly.

The issue of group work skills was highlighted by the Plenipotentiary of the Prime Minister for GovTech and the Head of the GovTech Center, Justyna Orłowska - Leader is a very attractive word. Everyone wants to be a leader, but we need teams of people. Someone will be a visionary, another person will be the producer, executor and will implement this vision. If we were all only those who set the directions, who would follow them? That is why it is so important that in education and at every stage it is necessary to take into account what is in my opinion crucial and in fact I would even finish with just this one competence - group work.
Mr. Wojciech Kaczmarczyk, Director of the National Freedom Institute, referred to the question as follows: - If we look at the various categories or categorization of leadership competences, let me only pay attention to two competences that seem to me to be very important from this perspective.

One is civic competences: knowledge about the country, about your local community, about the principles of democracy, about civil society.

The second type of competences that I would like to draw your attention to are cultural competences: knowing one's own tradition, referring to this tradition in one's activity, following cultural values.
One of the skills that activists of social organizations quickly acquire is the ability to work online. It is also your responsibility to implement this skill in social organizations in the most friendly way for all participants of this form of activity of social movements and non-governmental organizations.

Mr. Mateusz Grochowski - President of the Students' Parliament of the Republic of Poland drew attention to the aspects of the personality and soft skills of the young leader - from my perspective, the Young Leader is a person who attracts these people to work in a given team and group. This is a person who shows that it is worth implementing these ideas, but also the person who will attract everyone and show them a fairly broad perspective on a given topic. Another thing worth mentioning is group work, which also means building a team on values that we will all define together, values where each team member will feel that they are important and worth implementing. This is the second thing. The third thing that I would definitely mention about a good leader are also interpersonal communication skills, but also meeting new people, how we express ourselves and how we want to establish contact with another person.

Michał Tarnowski - vice president of Academy of Civic Knowledge (AWO) also pointed out the skills of creating and managing a dispersed team - The first thing that seems very important to me is the fact that returning to stationary work in the same format as we knew will probably not happen. This means that we will have to manage dispersed teams, and this is probably some kind of challenge (we manage teams that have already consolidated in a stationary environment). I think that what will appear in the coming years is creating dispersed teams from scratch, it requires completely new competences, such as the ability to even substitute what we previously knew as social events. our generation also expects a different type of management, either based on coaching or partnership, not necessarily on a hierarchical structure. In the era of constantly progressing technological progress, young leaders will need a real understanding of the potential of technologies, their possibilities and limitations.


of the 16th Economic Forum of Young Leaders




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