Page 1

No.

65 Winter 2018

NPCC supports

Dutch Water and Transport Mission YEARS NPCC

• Orange Ball 2018 - a resounding success • Economist Rob Rühl forecasts Polish economy


We wish all the members and friends of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber  of Commerce a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2019 on behalf of:


Bulletin Winter 2018 4

NPCC

5

CHAMBER CALENDAR

6

ARTICLE

9

ARTICLE

Director’s note

6

YEARS NPCC

20 years of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce in Poland Rob Rühl on perspectives for Polish economy in 20 years’ time

12 REPORT

The NPCC celebrates the 20th anniversary on the Polish market

Orange Ball 2018 – a roaring evening!

16 NEWS FROM OUR CHAMBER 18 REPORT

12

NPCC organizes 174 matchmaking meetings during the Trade Mission of the Dutch Infrastructure and Water Management Ministry to Poland

22 COLUMN

Łukasz Chodkowski

24 NEWS FROM OUR MEMBERS 26 ARTICLE FROM OUR PLATINUM SPONSOR 27 COLUMN

Staf Beems

28 COLUMN

Huub Droogh

Orange Ball 2018 An unforgettable evening full of surprises

18

29 NEW MEMBERS 30 NEWS FROM THE EMBASSY 32 INTERVIEW

Filip Fludra, Sales Manager at Exact, speaks about company’s goals and presence on the Polish market

34 NPCC TEST DRIVE BMW 5 SERIES Not much to complain about

35 COLUMN

Remco van der Kroft

NPCC organizes matchmaking meetings for 20 companies from the Netherlands

issue 65

Bulletin

3


NPCC

Director’s note Dear Reader, Last year, on this same page, I wrote about our matchmaking activities and how we can help companies by opening up the market for them in Poland. In October this year, we organised matchmaking meetings for 20 companies from the Netherlands in our biggest undertaking of that sort to date. It included participating companies from the visiting transport mission from the Netherlands that was led by Transport Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen and organised in Poland by the Netherlands Embassy in Warsaw. We arranged for these companies a total of 174 high quality meetings with their requested counterparts in the cities of Wrocław, Warsaw and Gdańsk. During our October Business Drink, which was also sponsored by the Netherlands Embassy, our members met with these visiting companies and they were able to offer them plenty of advice as they looked for ways they could business together. It was an intense period, not least for our team in the office, but now we can look back on a very successful project.

Bulletin is the quarterly magazine of the NetherlandsPolish Chamber of Commerce. It gives a voice to our members and informs about the activities the Chamber undertakes. The views expressed in the columns are theirs alone. The Editor-in-Chief is not responsible for the accuracy of the statements made by the columnists. Publisher: NPCC Managing Editor: Anna Kozińska Columnists: Huub Droogh Staf Beems Remco van der Kroft Łukasz Chodkowski

On 9 September we organised our flagship event - the Orange Ball - where we also celebrated our 20th anniversary. And what a party it was! We served up an excellent Indonesian Rijsttafel, prepared by top chef James Siao from the Netherlands, and saw great performances from the band Kitsch ‘n Crew and DJ HW from the Netherlands, as well as raising lots of money for three separate charities. Over 350 people attended the event, which also made it a fantastic opportunity for networking. This year, we chose three smaller charities - the Bátor Tábor Polska Foundation, Foundation Między Niebem a Ziemią and Prometeusz Foundation. A total of 49,000 PLN was raised for these charities and we’re sure that this money will make a real difference for those organisations. In November, we organised a speed mixer in the Regent Hotel in Warsaw, along with the German, Belgian, Canadian, Scandinavian, Portuguese, Swiss, French and Spanish bilateral chambers of commerce. This formula has proved very popular in the past and, on this occasion, it provided 250 participants with the possibility to meet and make new business partners. We also participated in the popular business mixer held by the Łódź Special Economic Zone and co-organised the International Automotive Business Meeting together with the Italian Chamber of Commerce. We also see that our chapter in the Netherlands is becoming increasingly active. Local chairman, Ben van de Vrie, and board member, Rob Rühl, represented our Chamber in the National Export Event, which attracted 700 participants and led to valuable leads for new members of the Chamber. In the Netherlands, we also had a follow-up meeting with the companies that participated in the transport mission with our partners from NL in Business. As you can see, there’s been a lot happening in our Chamber and we hope, with all these events, that we have planted the seeds for a good start to next year. I hope you enjoy reading this issue of Bulletin and I especially want to mention the article written by Rob Rühl, which makes a strong case to keep doing business in this country. I wish you great holidays and a happy time with your friends and family. On behalf of the NPCC team, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2019.

Photos: Elro van den Burg Anna Kozińska Milena Zychowicz Netherlands Embassy in Poland

Are we getting it right? Please let me know at e.vandenburg@nlchamber.com.pl

Advertisement management: NPCC

OUR PLATINUM SPONSORS

Contact: www.nlchamber.com.pl office@nlchamber.com.pl +48 22 419 54 44

4

issue 65

Bulletin

Elro van den Burg Managing Director of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce


Chamber

agenda

Activities of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce 12 December 2018 Christmas Business Mixer with IGCC Location: Poznań More info will be announced via our website

January 2019 New Years Receptions Location: Łódź, Gdańsk and Poznań

5 February 2019 Chamber Lab Business Drink Location: Warsaw More info will be announced via our website

19 February 2019 Meeting with the President of City of Wrocław Location: Wrocław More info will be announced via our website

March 2019 Forum and Dutch Polish Business Award Location: Netherlands – The Hague More info will be announced via our website

5 March 2019 Business Drink and Chamber Lab Location: Warsaw More info will be announced via our website

19 March 2019 Job market together with Here We Are Location: Warsaw More info will be announced via our website

26 March 2019 CEO Business Breakfast Location: Sopot More info will be announced via our website

2 April 2019 Business Drink Location: Warsaw More info will be announced via our website

4 April 2019 Speed Business Mixer Location: Poznań More info will be announced via our website

7 May 2019 Business Drink and Chamber Lab Location: Warsaw More info will be announced via our website

21 May 2019 Business Meeting with IGCC Location: Kraków More info will be announced via our website

March 2019 Transport Seminar Location: Poznań More info will be announced via our website

30 May 2019 Business Meeting with IGCC Location: Łódź More info will be announced via our website

Please follow our NPCC website: www.nlchamber.com.pl for an updated calendar issue 65

Bulletin

5


The official state visit of the former Dutch Queen Beatrix from the Netherlands in 1997 to Poland, on the picture with the former President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, after she inspected the Guard of the Honour, the NPCC was established in 1998.

20

Years

of the NPCC

2018 is a special year for the Chamber as this is the year when we celebrate the NPCC’s 20th anniversary. To mark this special occasion, we have introduced a new logo and also organised a number of special activities, and in this bumper December Bulletin you can read a special article from economist Rob Rühl who shares his thoughts on how the Polish economy will look 20 years from now. If we look back in time, we can see that many Dutch entrepreneurs have been active in supporting fellow entrepreneurs to do business in Poland. Two Dutch-Polish chambers were even established in the inter-war period. In October 1933, the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands was founded by the Polish Ambassador Wacław Babiński. At its peak, it had 87 members, three of whom are also members of our current NetherlandsPolish Chamber of Commerce, namely Philips, Unilever and Vredestein. The pre-war chamber published a monthly newsletter with information about doing business in Poland and held regular meetings for its members.

6

issue 65

Bulletin

The chamber helped to find agents and advisors for Dutch companies looking to do business in Poland and supported companies that had complaints about government policies or problems with invoices. In the first year of its existence, it handled 140 such cases. Furthermore, this chamber also raised money to aid flood victims in Poland during that time.

The visit of the Netherlands King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima to Poland in 2014. The Dutch royal couple visited our chapter in Poznań and met with our representatives and members


YEARS NPCC

of Commerce was officially established on 18 August 1998 with a board led by Jaap van Oost, then country manager of Philips. The establishment of the chamber was celebrated together with Queen Beatrix when she visited Poland in that same year.

The Board of the Netherlands - Polish Chamber of Commerce in the Hague in 1933. First row in the middle is founder – Wacław Babiński

NPCC Board in 1933 In that chamber’s first annual report, we can read about the trade barriers that were being imposed by both governments. But despite those measures, there was still a lively trade between both countries. Important import products for the Netherlands were livestock (horses), barley, seeds, coal, iron and fashion, while export products included salted herring, flower bulbs, rags and waste paper. Furthermore, Dutch entrepreneurs saw Poland as an important hub for Czechoslovakia, the Baltic states and Russia. Poland was also a large importer of raw materials from Indonesia, such as cocoa beans and soya oil. Membership of this chamber cost 25 guilders. In Polish government archives, we found the founding act of the Polish partner organisation, the Polish-Dutch Chamber of Commerce. This chamber was established in 1935 on the initiative of a Polish-Italian baron, Roger Battaglia, who was a lawyer and member of the Polish Export Council. Reading this founding act, we can see there was a need to establish a Polish counterpart “because in Amsterdam there is already a Chamber that has been successfully functioning for two years.” The chairman of the board of that chamber, which was located in Poland, was Zygmunt Sowiński, a well-known entrepreneur and politician. New Chamber in 1998 When communism fell in Poland, a new wave of Dutch companies came to Poland to make the most of the opportunities in this country. But for many years there was still no established business organisation. Most Dutch nationals that needed support ended up at the desks of the CEOs of some of the big corporations or they simply found their own way. Inspired by the initiative of some other international chambers, a group of Dutch businesspeople came together in 1997 to establish a representative organisation for Dutch companies in Poland. The Netherlands-Polish Chamber

Over the years, our chamber has created a bridge between the Netherlands and Poland, and helped many companies with advice and contacts to set up their business or to make their enterprise prosper. Over that same period, the role of the chamber has changed due to the characteristics of the Polish market. Instead of being a country for nearshoring activities, many companies choose Poland because of its significant domestic market. Due to the developing situation in the country, foreign companies have to face fierce competition. Help is needed to find partners, clients and distributors and that is where the support and membership of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce can prove invaluable. In 2018, the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce is more active than ever.

Hedro Farms - the winner of Dutch Polish Business Awards in 2016

Over the last 5 years, we have more than doubled our membership and we have become active not only in Warsaw, but also in Łódź, Poznań, Gdańsk and the Netherlands. More and more members are coming to our networking events and our annual Charity Orange Ball attracted 350 people in September, making it one of the biggest corporate social events in Poland. In the regions, many members are also attending the events organised by our active local boards in those cities. And as you can read in this magazine, we have arranged many matchmaking activities, offering tailor made meetings with counterparts in Poland. This broad range of activities and services offers valuable support for Dutch companies looking to do business in Poland. We hope that you, our members, will continue to support us with your membership and ensure our future in Poland for many more years to come.

issue 65

Bulletin

7


8

ADVERTISEMENT

issue 65

Bulletin


YEARS NPCC

The Polish Economy in 20 Years’ Time By Rob Rühl,

director of Next Markets Advisory and NPCC board member

Germany

Germany

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

France

France

Italy

Italy

• r ecognise the services sector as the most important contributor to GDP growth. The next most important will be locally-oriented industries such as retail and wholesale distribution, construction, transport and storage. • see technological intensive industries show attractive growth rates but due to its size the impact on GDP growth will be limited. All talent will be needed to facilitate growth in this sector. • value the service industries as the most important driver of employment growth. Most other sectors will show decreases in employment, with the agricultural sector registering by far the largest decline. • see labour shortages and wage increases forcing companies to speed up automation and robotisation processes. • see that increased household incomes drive growth in consumer markets and shift spending patterns towards more luxury products. • face a growing wealth gap between urban and rural population, and also between the populations of different cities around the country.

Spain

Spain

The road from 1998 to 2018

Netherlands

Poland

Switzerland

Netherlands

Poland

Switzerland

Sweden

Sweden

Belgium

Belgium

To mark the 20th anniversary of the chamber, the board of the NPCC decided on behalf of its members to commission a special study analysing Poland’s future economic development. Taking the next 20 years as the most logical time frame, the study was based on data from Oxford Economics. My findings are presented below. I hope you will find them helpful for your own business.

2018

2038

Before looking into the future, it’s always important to see what we can learn from the past. After the end of the communist period, and the difficult transformation towards a market-driven economy, Poland has reported exceptionally high GDP growth rates (3.8% on average) over the last 20 years. In terms of economy size (GDP), Poland climbed from being the 12th largest economy in the EU to the 8th biggest Working age population (2000 = 100) % Growth by country 2018-2038

Main findings: Over the next twenty years, Poland will… • b  ecome one of the 6 (or 5 if the Brexit will be realised) most important countries in the EU in terms of size of the economy, smaller than the Spanish economy but larger than the Dutch. •  become an even more influential member of the EU, NATO and other institutions. • not be the growth engine of Europe, with GDP growth of “only”2.5%( yearly average), the so called business as usual scenario presented by McKinsey in 2015. • see major contributions to GDP growth as a result of increases in productivity and investments in the capital stock. Due to a reduction in the working age, population growth will not offer a positive contribution to GDP growth. • see the unemployment rate bottom out at 4.2%, lower than in the Netherlands and Germany. • see GDP per head at 95% of the EU average and 70% of the Dutch level.

110 105 Netherlands -0,1% 100 Hungary -0,2

95

Poland -0,4 Czechia -0,3

90

Germany -0,5

85

Slovakia -0,6

Portugal -0,8

80 75

Ukraine -0,9 70

Romania -1

65

60

Bulgaria -1

2000

2018

2028

2038

issue 65

Bulletin

9


YEARS NPCC

(see ranking table). Over 1 million jobs have been created and unemployment has fallen to 6.1%. Over this period, the working age population has started to decrease while income per person, taking into account the purchasing power factor, has increased from 20% of the Dutch level to 57%. Increasing consumption and substantial investments by foreign companies, accompanied by huge amounts of euros coming in from Brussels and well-planned government expenditures, have all helped to stimulate GDP growth. Meanwhile Poland has also become more, closely linked to the EU, in so-called global value chains. A well-known example of this is the automotive industry, but it also applies to the electronics, food and finance sectors. Judging by the economic indicators and its financial position in 2018, Poland now has an excellent starting point for the next 20 years. 2018 - 2038 Forecasting economic growth over such a long period can only be done by making certain assumptions. Examples of these assumptions are: that there will be no serious disruptions like trade wars or the break-up of the European Union, and that the UK will have its delayed ‘soft’ Brexit. Nor will there be serous international or domestic political tensions. Furthermore, it is assumed that the business climate will stay businessfriendly and the state of democracy will remain attractive for Polish citizens and companies alike.

factor productivity (TFP). One of these variables, the one connected with labour supply, can be forecast based on demographic statistics. Poland’s working age population is expected to decrease by 0.3% per year. In comparison with other CEE countries, this is not so bad (see the graph showing the working age population). In Bulgaria, for example, this figure is expected to be -1.2% per year. Due to a general stabilisation in the demand for labourers, labour markets in the CEE area will continue to show shortages in certain industry sectors and in certain regions. With unemployment rates at historically low levels, there is not much room to reduce these shortages. The Polish authorities have one option left. Polish labour participation is low compared to other EU countries but if Poland forced the labour participation rate to increase to the higher rate of Czechia, for example, the labour supply in Poland could increase by almost 2 million people at once. This would solve part of the quantitative shortage problem but it would not solve the qualitative shortages in certain industry sectors. It is not very likely, however, that the current government will try to increase the participation rate since it actually reduced it quite recently by lowering the retirement age.

On the production side, there are three important variables when forecasting long-term GDP growth. These variables are: changes in the labour force, changes in capital stock and increases in total

Increases in capital stock and total factor productivity are more difficult to forecast. The change in capital stock (net increase in investments) is expected to show a growth rate of 3%, while TFP should increase by 2.5%. The current shortage of labourers in certain sectors of industry and also increasing wages may help to increase TFP but they also stimulate companies to reorganise production processes and introduce automation (the introduction of robots). According to the International Federation of Robotics, the number of robots per 10,000 workers in Poland in 2016 amounted to only 32, while in Slovakia that number was

Top 10 of sectors driving GDP growth (2018 - 2038)

Major changes in employment 2018-2038 in %

6

25

% Share in GDP growth

Growth rates in % RHS 5

20

20 4 15

10 3

0

10 2

-10 5

0

1

Financial & business Retail & wholesale services distribuon

10

issue 65

Construcon

Informaon & communicaon

Bulletin

R&D, leasing, legal, Transport & storage professional services services

Real estate acvies

Motor vehicles & parts

Non-metallic minerals

Electrical engineering

0

-20

-30

-40


YEARS NPCC

already 135. Although the introduction of robots is labour-displacing, they also require additional highly-skilled workers to operate them. The extent to which more robots can be introduced depends on the availability of those qualified workers but, in many cases, they have migrated to Western Europe due to the wage gap. Universities, companies and government institutions have to put a lot of effort into upgrading the education system to make it more attractive for young people to stay in Poland. Trying to persuade migrants to return to Poland may be another approach. All talents will be badly needed for the next transition phase. All these factors combined together will result in a somewhat slower growth path over the next 20 years (2.5% p.a.). Nevertheless, Poland will still become the 6th or 5th largest economy in the EU, and it will no longer be known as a country with low wage costs, but as a country on its way to increasing its share of high added value products and services.

Companies operating in Poland will… • face shortages on the labour market over the next 2 years, as well as a mismatch between supply and demand, and wage increases. • face huge differences in the regions and in industry sectors. • h  ave to remain competitive by investing in automation. • h  ave to reconsider their current business location (moving to the eastern part of Poland could solve the labour shortages problem). • n  ot expect dramatic changes in fiscal policy due to the sound financial situation of government finances. • m  ost likely see the government step up the creation of business parks to stimulate start-ups in cooperation with universities and large corporations. Consumer expenditures by product (2000, 2018 and 2035) in Euro, Million Other goods and services Restaurants and hotels Educaon

Which sectors will drive GDP growth and the transition? See graphs showing the top 10 sectors driving GDP growth and the major changes in employment in 2018 - 2038.

Recreaonal and cultural goods and services Communicaon goods and services Transport services and vehicle purchases Health goods and services furnishings, household equipment Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels

As shown in the graphs, the transition in the structure of the economy over the next 20 years will be driven mainly by the service sector. Its contribution to GDP growth will be 37%, and it will lead to an increase in employment of 16%. The so-called locally-oriented sectors, like retail and wholesale distribution, construction, transport & storage services, will generate a similar contribution to GDP growth (37%) but employment in these local industries will decrease by 10%. Excluding the agriculture sector, employment in these local industries will stay more or less the same. Hotels and catering will be the positive outlier, while all other local sectors will show slight declines. This suggests that companies in those sectors will improve their productivity (due to automation), a change which will be forced on them by shortages of personnel. In the manufacturing industry, the loss of 375,000 jobs will coincide with an increase in production of 2.3% and this loss of jobs will also be connected with improved production processes and automation. The technological industries will show high growth rates but their contribution to GDP will only increase to 5%. Close cooperation between universities, big business and government institutions may help to accelerate the development of this important sector in the future.

Clothing and footwear Alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcocs Food and non-alcoholic beverages 0,0

10 000,0 20 000,0 30 000,0 40 000,0 50 000,0 60 000,0 70 000,0 80 000,0 90 000,0 2035

2018

2000

What can be expected for the consumer markets? Household income will grow on average by 2.4% p.a. in real terms over the next 20 years, while consumer expenditure in real terms will increase by 2.5%. However, the income gap between urban and rural populations will increase, as will the differences between income levels in different cities around Poland. In Warsaw, the purchasing power of higher income groups will be higher than in Amsterdam. The increasing wealth of Polish households, especially in the cities, will have a strong impact on spending patterns (see the graph of the number of households per income band). The better-off households will spend more money on health goods and services, transport services and vehicle purchases, as well as leisure, clothing and footwear. (See the graph of consumer expenditure by product, in millions of Euro, for 2000-2035)

issue 65

Bulletin

11


Orange

Ball 2018 celebrates 20 years of the NPCC

On Saturday 8 September, the NetherlandsPolish Chamber of Commerce organised its annual flagship event, the Orange Ball. During this edition of the event, we also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Chamber and unveiled the NPCC’s new logo. The gala dinner, which was opened by Raphaël Varga, Deputy Head of the Mission of the Netherlands Embassy in Warsaw, was attended by over 300 guests. this year’s edition being the 9th time it has been organised, that it no longer needs as much promotion because it is already known to anyone thinking about doing business with Dutch partners. And every year, the organisers are able to come up with new and surprising elements to inspire the guests. This year’s event was no exception, and it was given extra gloss by the fact that it also celebratedthe 20th anniversary of the Chamber.

Guests from Belvedere Vodka enjoying the first part of the evening

20th anniversary It wasn’t hard to notice the main theme of the evening - the 20th anniversary of the Chamber. Pictures in large wooden frames showed the activities of the NPCC over the past 20 years, including photos of the establishment of the NPCC in 1998 during the visit of the former Queen HKH Beatrix van Oranje to Poland. There were also framed photos honouring the past winners of the Dutch Polish Business Award.

The Orange Ball has become a regular event in the calendars of Dutch entrepreneurs in Poland. Indeed, the organisers have noticed that the Orange Ball has become such a well-known event now, with

During the evening, large video screens featured the economist Bas Bakker, representative of the IMF in Poland, who presented his view of the Polish economy for the next 20 years. Also, futurologist Kacper Nosarzewski, founder and business development director of

12

issue 65

Bulletin


Spectacular performances given by world champions in flair bartending prepared by Belvedere Vodka

the company 4CF, gave his take on what to expect in Poland in the future. Furthermore, the Chamber received congratulations from the government: in one video message, Pawel ChorÄ…Ĺźy, Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Investment and Economic Development, thanked Kitsch ‘n Crew from the Netherlands on the stage entertaining the audience

the NPCC for its cooperation and for promoting doing business in Poland over the past 20 years. The evening also featured plenty of other attractions for the audience as well. In the foyer were mime artists, and a rickshaw, which proved an excellent background for a photo. Main sponsor Planet Car Lease/ Hitachi Capital Polska provided a Mini, a Tesla and an electric Maxus van for guests to admire, while sponsor MB Motors also supplied two Mercedes cars.

A delicous Rijsttafel was prepared by Chef James Siao from the Netherlands

When the guests entered the dinner room, they were entertained by a number of dancers and there was an opening performance by Scottish singer Brian Allan which got the audience nicely in the mood for the rest of the evening.

issue 65

Bulletin

13


Carving and unveiling the new logo of the NPCC to the public

To mark its 20th anniversary, the NPCC also decided to change its logo. PR agency 24/7 PR had prepared an impressive design for the new logo which consisted of the stars and flags that were a brand mark for the past period. An ice sculptor carved the logo in ice during the event, thus unveiling it to the public. In keeping with the tradition of our annual flagship event, dozens of famous Indonesian dishes were served, made from richly-coloured ingredients of varying degrees of spiciness, such as sateh, spring rolls, fish and marinades. The exquisite menu was presented by the InterContinental Hotel and put together by chef James Siao from the Netherlands.

Interesting items, including two KLM tickets for a long-haul flight, a voucher to have a Tesla for a weekend, and also vouchers for an overnight stay in Spain sponsored by Bidroom. All these special prizes ensured that the in-credible amount of 49,000 PLN was raised during the evening.

Ĺ ukasz Chodkowski from Dehora, the winner of Air France-KLM tickets to any intercontinental destination

Charity The Orange Ball is a charity event and this year we chose to raise money for three smaller causes. By doing so, we wanted to provide more visible and effective support to people in need. After an intensive selection period prior to the event, we chose the following causes: the Bator Tabor Foun-dation, Between Heaven and Earth and the Prometheus Foundation. Those organisations prepared impressive videos high lighting their activities and these were shown on the main screens. There was an auction to raise money for these charities which featured many

14

issue 65

Bulletin

Guests of the main sponsor Planet Car Lease enjoying the evening


PGA Band once again gave a great performance at the main stage

They were followed on the stage by the band Kitsch ‘n Crew, a student band flown in from the Netherlands which is made up of students from various universities in Utrecht. In between the live music performances, DJ HW Hofs from the Netherlands ensured that the guests could dance throughout the whole evening.When the last guests finally left the building at around 3 o’clock in the morning, it was clear that this latest edition of the NPCC’s flagship event had been atremendous success. We would like express our gratitude and appreciation to the sponsors and partners of the event. Such a fantastic event would not have been possible without the help of the main sponsors Planet Car Lease/Hitachi Capital Polska andING Bank Śląski. We would also like to thank our co-sponsors Philips, Otto Work Force, Randstad, KLM, MB Motors, BGŻ BNP Paribas, Mandersloot, Nationale Nederlanden, Grupa Żywiec, TB Trucks, Belvedere Vodka, Lewandowski Advocatenkantoor, Gosselin and 24/7 Communication, as well as the Bator Tabor, Between Heaven and Earth and Prometheus foundations, for their wonderful cooperation, as well as all the volunteers for their help at the event itself. And finally, we would like to thank Anita Ryng for co-hosting the evening’s entertainment.

Guests of the evening had an opportunity to win many interesting prizes while supporting charity cause

One of the evening’s most spectacular performances came from Tomek Małek, a multiple world champion in flair bartending, and Marek Posłuszny, the current world champion, in a show prepared by Belvedere Vodka. The performance by the PGA Band also drew a lot of attention, with their show again turning out to be a big surprise.

Guests of the evening generously supported three chairty causes

issue 65

Bulletin

15


Chamber

news and events

General Assembly and Business Drink

On 4 September, the NPCC organised its General Assembly 2018, which was combined with a Business Drink.

At the meeting, NPCC members were informed about last year’s achievements, finances and events (of which there were over 60!), and they were also able to give their remarks and hear about the plans for the upcoming year.

focus more on the regions, areas such as Łódź, Poznań and Gdańsk, and that is why we have also welcomed onto the board Krzysztof Korzeniak - the new regional chairman responsible for the Wielkopolska area.

An important point of the assembly was the election of new board members of the NPCC and the opportunity to say goodbye to some departing board members.

After the official part of the evening, members and the board had the opportunity to network and relax over some delicious Italian food and wine.

We welcomed Henri Viswat from Randstad, Tomasz Dudek from Otto Work Force and Danielle van den Broek from Unilever onto the board. Our goal in the near future is to

The meeting also allowed us the opportunity to discuss preparations for our flagship event which were entering the home straight.

Speed Business Mixer in Kraków chambers (Netherlands, German, Belgian, French, Scandinavian and Swiss) as well as the Polish Association of Ecological Construction. The meeting attracted over 80 members representing the six different chambers and the association.

On 18 September, we again had the opportunity to co-organise a Speed Business Mixer in Kraków, with the event taking place this time in a very original venue belonging to the Kraków Technology Park. The meeting was a joint undertaking by six bilateral

After a warm welcome and the official opening of the meeting, the participants had the opportunity to take part in a tour around the Kraków Technology Park, after which they then participated in a number of direct networking sessions with potential business partners. Thanks to the unique formula and the new arrangements, each participant had the chance to meet a large number of potential new contacts.

This Speed Mixer was then followed by another networking session but this time in larger groups, together with the chance to enjoy some tasty snacks and a glass of wine. We would like to thank the NPCC’s partner - MRK Radcowi Prawni - for supporting this networking event!

Speed Business Mixer in Warsaw On 6 November, the NPCC, in collaboration with 8 bilateral chambers (German, Belgian, French, Canadian, Spanish, Portuguese, Scandinavian and Swiss), had the pleasure to organise a Speed Business Mixer in Warsaw. Over 260 participants attended the event, which took place in the elegant surroundings of the Regent Hotel. The Speed Business Mixer started with a warm welcome speech and a quick presentation of the Chambers’ activities and sponsors of the events. The rules for the Mixer part of the evening were then presented to the participants.

16

issue 65

Bulletin

During three series of direct meetings, members had the chance to present their companies, exchange business cards, make new contacts and find new business partners. Thanks to the formula of these sessions which were tailored by sector, each

participant had the chance to make new contacts. After the Speed Mixer part, participants had the opportunity to network in larger groups while enjoying some delicious snacks and a glass of wine. We would like to thank the NPCC sponsor - Exact Software Poland - for supporting this networking event and also for the presentation of the interesting business case which it gave at the event. Exact is a global vendor of a wide range of business software.


Chamber

news and events

Business Drink with Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen Warsaw. This event, which attracted over 100 guests, was organised to mark the trade visit of H.E. Ms. Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, as well as the visit of thirty Dutch companies interested in exploring business opportunities in Poland.

On 9 October, the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce, together with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, had the pleasure to organise a Business Mixer and Networking Dinner at the Regent Hotel in

The official part of the evening started with a welcome speech given by Ambassador Ron van Dartel. He then passed the floor on to Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, who expressed her enthusiasm about her visit to Poland and the ongoing trade mission. Later on, the Business Mixer was enriched with the arrival of those companies participating

CEO Breakfast in Gdańsk with Prof. Melibruda On 17 October, the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with 3 bilateral international chambers, organised a Business Breakfast for Chief Executive Officers in Sopot. The meeting was attended by over 60 participants representing diverse business sectors and regions. The aim of the meeting was to create a networking platform for the presidents and managing directors of member companies

to discuss challenges, create new solutions and inspire each other. Additionally, the

in the mission, which gave the members of the NPCC an excellent opportunity to network with Dutch entrepreneurs interested in doing business on the Polish market. In the meantime, all the guests were served delicious food and beverages prepared by the Regent Hotel. organisers also invited Prof. Melibruda - a social and business psychologist who presented a new look at the role of presidents and managing directors within a company. This presentation was followed by some intriguing questions and very insightful answers. The event was held in the beautiful surroundings of the Sheraton Hotel in Sopot, which is located in a prestigious area offering a perfect seaside view. We would like to thank all participating chambers for their cooperation, and Cushman & Wakefield, Avaus Marketing Innovations and the Sheraton Sopot Hotel for supporting this event.

CEO meeting in Wrocław On 4 October, the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce, along with the German Chamber of Commerce, the Belgian Business Chamber and the French-Polish Chamber of Commerce, had the pleasure

to organise another CEO Breakfast meeting. The event took place at the Marriott Hotel in Wrocław. The aim of the regional CEO Meeting is constantly focused on creating a networking platform for the presidents and managing directors of member companies to discuss challenges, create new solutions and inspire each other.

Over the course of the meeting, participants also had the chance to get to know more about key aspects of currency risk and the volatility faced by Polish companies cooperating with the Eurozone and other markets, FX forecasts

for EUR, GBP, CZK and other currencies for 2019, as well as strategies that might help in minimising the risk. We would like to thank Western Union for supporting this networking event.

issue 65

Bulletin

17


18

issue 65

Bulletin


Dutch Matchmaking Mission to Poland

From 9 to 11 October, the Dutch Infrastructure and Water Management Minister, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, was visiting Poland together with a trade mission comprised of a number of Dutch companies and knowledge institutes. The NPCC organised matchmaking meetings for 20 participants of the mission and set up a total of 174 high quality meetings with their Polish counterparts.

Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Dutch Infrastructure and Water Management Minister, present at the Business Drink with the members of the NPCC

the Netherlands in the fields of port development, inland shipping, water management and freight transport. In addition to the capital Warsaw, the mission also headed for the Wrocław traffic hub and the port city of Gdańsk. As in many other countries, grasping the opportunities offered by markets abroad is essential for Dutch companies to grow and prosper. As was demonstrated by the significant number of participants present during this mission, Poland is a market of high interest.

Participants of the Trade Mission participating in matchmaking meetings

The trade mission was aimed at exploring opportunities on the Polish market for the participating companies and, if possible, closing deals. Poland has an abundance of water and offers many opportunities for

Prior to the matchmaking days, two months of preparations were necessary in order to organise the tailor-made meetings with Polish partners. Due to the large number of participants, all other chamber activities had to be put on hold or postponed. The individual screening and market search activities were followed up by the chamber’s staff contacting and cold/warm calling to try to set up meetings with the requested partners. Not all of the requests for meetings were honoured, and it often took a lot of explaining and negotiating before companies were willing to join in.

issue 65

Bulletin

19


ADVERTISEMENT

f

20

issue 65

Bulletin


Embassy. Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen and Ambassador Van Dartel both gave short speeches on the importance of doing business with Dutch water companies in Poland. Due to the high-level guests, this was a very well-attended business drink with over 100 participants and the visiting companies had the chance at the mixer to meet with Dutch entrepreneurs in Poland and exchange do’s and don’ts about the Polish market. Some of the participants continued with their scheduled matchmaking meetings during the event. Warsaw

The second day of matchmaking meetings took place in Warsaw and gathered companies from the water as well as transport sectors

Wrocław The first day of the mission to Poland introduced the participating companies to the city of Wroclaw, where they met at the Marriott Hotel in the city centre. Two conference rooms had been set aside for the meetings between the Dutch companies and representatives of the public sector from the region, as well as private parties such as tyre producer Stomil, transport company PCC, and many many more. The mission participants also met with other Dutch companies based in the area of Wroclaw which they had requested to meet.

The next day started early with a morning seminar - “Transport Connects, Water Unites” - which was opened by Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen. During this seminar, Poland and the Netherlands agreed to intensify cooperation on river restoration focused on the multiple use of river areas. The minister was also invited to meet with two Polish ministers, Marek Gróbarczyk (Maritime Economy) and Andrzej Adamczyk (Infrastructure). Many of the companies participating in the mission had an afternoon schedule packed full of new meetings. While the main topic in Wrocław had been transport; in Warsaw many companies had requested to meet public or semi-public companies face to face. The Polish counterparts included companies such as ZTM, the municipal transport authority, mining companies and representatives of the local and national government on water and transport. In the evening, a trade dinner was organised in the Ale Glory restaurant in Plac Trzech Krzyży.

After the morning matchmaking session, more than a hundred representatives from these Polish and Dutch transport and logistics companies, and from the two governments and various associations, gathered to celebrate the extension of the Schavemaker terminal in Katy Wroclawskie by attending a seminar on the ‘Future of Intermodal Transport’ where they heard about the new railway shuttle from Wrocław to Moerdijk (near Rotterdam).

Participants of the Trade Mission with the Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen in Warsaw

Gdańsk

High Level Round Tables discussions in Gdańsk

Speakers included the Dutch Minister, who spoke about the special relationship between the two countries, Arthur van Dijk, President of the Dutch Transport Association TLN, who highlighted the logistics position of the Netherlands, and also Menno Menist from Panteia, who discussed the changes in intermodal transport. In the evening, they travelled to the Regent Hotel in Warsaw, where they participated in the monthly business drink organised by the NetherlandsPolish Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by the Netherlands

The final day of the mission took place in Gdańsk and it focused on the maritime sector. One of the items on the agenda was a visit to the port of Gdańsk in order to give companies the chance to explore opportunities for the Dutch maritime sector. There was a Water Forum, which focused on the exchange of knowledge and expertise, and then matchmaking sessions at the Energa Stadium, where the conference rooms on the second floor offered an excellent view of the pitch below. In Gdańsk, the Dutch companies also had an impressively full schedule of meetings with Polish counterparts, including representatives from the city hall, maritime authorities, some retailers and one or two transport companies. The meetings finished at around 15.00 in the afternoon, which heralded the end of the mission to Poland. All in all, it was an extremely successful trip to Poland for many of the participating companies, and also another opportunity for the chamber to support Dutch companies with their initial steps in the Polish market.

issue 65

Bulletin

21


Column Łukasz Chodkowski Managing Director, Déhora Polska A difficult situation on the labour market caused by a historically low unemployment rate has dramatically changed that approach. If you want to be recognised as a good employer now, you need to be aware of the health and social aspects when creating the work schedule.

Time for a Revolution. A Time Revolution!

Although it appears difficult at first glance, there are principles you can follow which will minimise the negative effects of working irregular hours. Although research on fatigue suggests that the start and finish time of shifts should be around 07:00-15:00-23:00, it is still common to start at 06:00-14:00-22:00.

According to the latest research from GUS (June 2018), 5.1 million people in Poland are employed in the industrial sector, and the specific nature of this sector means that most of them have to work irregular hours and shifts.

Why not build some flexibility into the schedule so that your employees can be given greater predictability in terms of their working hours? Just imagine - predictable work schedules also result in predictable free time, which then increases the quality of that free time. Shift workers will appreciate it!

In practice, this means that around 10 million people, either directly or indirectly, are affected by the social problems that working irregular (including night workers) hours creates. Yes, this is no mistake. Imagine that you regularly work night shifts and then just think how this will impact on your family/social life - and how your relatives will suffer as well.

What is the best employer branding tool? The grapevine.

In the early 1990s, when the first international companies were getting started in Poland, no-one ever wondered what the ‘work-life balance’ was or what it was for exactly, since the focus was on growing and catching up with the mythologised West.

But imagine having the opportunity to implement not only technical innovations, but also innovation on a human and social level.

Nowadays, when competition between companies to acquire and retain top talent is so strong, the term ‘work-life balance’ has come into general usage and it’s now widely recognised and better respected.

The general assumption of self-rostering is for employers to give their employees more flexibility and independence.

In 2018, if you check any report about the situation on the labour market (for instance Hays’ report on overtime hours, Randstad’s Employer Brand Research, or reports by the Gallup Institute and others), you will immediately see that employees expect much more than just a good salary and benefits. Did you know, for example, that 72% of employees would also like to have some influence over their own work schedules? And this figure doesn’t only apply to white-collar workers… Impossible in the industrial sector? Several years ago, when we were taking our first steps here at Déhora Poland, we asked a manufacturing plant management team about the ways they took care of the health and social aspects of their shift workers. They looked at us like we’d come from Mars. Really.

The industrial revolution 4.0 is knocking at our doors. Machines will communicate between themselves and the role of artificial intelligence in manufacturing will only grow. That’s the main development focus at the moment.

This is called self-rostering.

The major advantage of self-rostering is that an employee can set their own schedule. As a result, employees can engage in physical exercise when it’s convenient for them, they can take family care leave, pick up the children when necessary and even work shifts on a part-time basis. Self-rostering makes working part-time a great deal easier. It has been scientifically proven that self-rostering helps employees to remain both socially and physically healthy as the employees themselves decide which tasks to perform and how they will spend their time. Self-rostering is based on clever algorithms that, when used in conjunction with production plans and real-time staffing needs, can determine with great accuracy when a given employee can change their working hours without affecting output. Now imagine how this can influence attracting and retaining staff! It is time for a revolution. A Time Revolution.

This column is written à titre personnel and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NPCC board or its members.

22

issue 65

Bulletin


ADVERTISEMENT

issue 65

Bulletin

23


News

from our members

Deloitte top among consultancy companies strategy around the world, with numerous actions aimed at promoting an active and healthy lifestyle. As part of the programme, many solutions are implemented to optimise the time and place of work, and to support physical health and wellbeing. It also includes ecological elements and promoting responsibility for the surrounding world, people and the natural environment.

Consulting company Deloitte was placed in the top 10 of the most attractive employers in the Polish Universum Talent Survey 2018. Deloitte was ranked sixth in the business category, and third among law firms, which was the highest placing for the leading companies providing consulting services in Poland. “We are proud that we have become one of the top six best-seen employers in Poland,

especially because it was higher education students and graduates who made the choice. The strengths of our company are our well-composed team, the innovation of our business solutions and our unique organisational culture,” explained Krzysztof Kwiecień, Deloitte HR Director in Poland. Deloitte adjusts its working conditions to meet the expectations of its young employees, implementing an „Employee Wellbeing”

The Universum study, which is one of the largest of its kind in the world, checks the professional preferences of graduates and higher education students. This year, 17,575 people took part in the survey from over 70 universities all over Poland, and the study found that the most important factors determining the choice of employer were: future high earnings, good career prospects, training and development opportunities, employment security and respect for employees.

Eco-friendly Raben On 20 October 2018, volunteers from the Raben Group, together with the Aeris Futuro Foundation and members of the local community, planted 2,000 trees in the village of Krzywa in the Lower Beskids. This was the fifth time such planting has taken place and it is traditionally seen as the crowning achievement of the „e-faktura = higher culture” campaign. This campaign, under which Raben plants one tree for every

24

issue 65

Bulletin

customer which agrees to switch to an electronic invoice, has seen the company plant a total of almost 12,000 new trees in Poland. „This year’s planting took place in the agricultural areas of the former stateowned farm in Krzywa in the charming Lower Beskids. The goal of the action was to create the right conditions in the face of the changing climate. The hornbeam belts

will create natural barriers limiting wind in open spaces, and they will also help to provide shade and limit the evaporation of rainwater. They will also help local birds and insects. The falling leaves will enrich the humuspoor mountain soil, thanks to which it will be possible to increase the biodiversity in this area,” said Joanna Mieszkowicz, President of the Aeris Futuro Foundation.


News

from our members

Komunikacja Polska launches CSR campaign Opportunities are expanding along with our care for the environment Rhinos. For poachers, the rhino is a commodity. The decline in the overall rhino population means that its horn is actually increasing in value due to potential shortages in future supply. As a socially responsible company, Komunikacja Polska, along with IT experts from Symmetra, is in close contact with those communities affected most by this sad but true phenomenon. Did you know that rhinos don’t need to be killed for their horns? Their horns have the capacity to rebuild, just like human nails. Despite this, however, rhinos are still being killed by paramilitary forces at a rate which will make them extinct. Why? Because the cosmetics and medical products derived from their horns will become even more valuable when there are no more rhinos around. Last year, in a joint venture with EU businesses and African foundations, companies engaged in the protection of rhino sanctuaries that will help them to survive this war of extinction. Companies’s goals since then has been to put in place full security measures to protect the rhinos in those sanctuaries. This means meeting the immediate needs of providing daily rhino care, 24/7 security patrols, a security gate and control room

headquarters, as well as protecting the people who are directly involved in protecting them. By introducing broader technological solutions to help preserve the lives of these beautiful creatures, Komunikacja

Polska and Symmetra are continuing to witness incredible opportunities that are expanding along with our care for local communities, the environment and global interconnections.

Cushman & Wakefield named Best Commercial Real Estate Agent

International commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield, a member of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce, received the award for Best Commercial Real Estate Agency at the 17th CIJ Poland Awards. The CIJ Awards, organised by Roberts Publishing Media Group, publisher of the CIJ, is the longest-running competition connected with the commercial real estate market in Poland. During this year’s gala, Cushman & Wakefield was named Best Commercial Real Estate Agency in Poland due to its outstanding achievements in the commercial real estate market. The winners of the CIJ Awards Poland 2018 were announced during a gala held on November 6 this year at Airport Hotel Okęcie in Warsaw.

issue 65

Bulletin

25


The advantages

of long-term rental

Regardless of whether you want to raise the standard of your company cars, whether your private car is falling apart, or you just dream of driving the latest model of your favourite make, long-term car rental may be the best solution for you. The costs of long-term vehicle rental have fallen hugely over the past few years, which is why it is an increasingly common form of fleet financing for companies and also a good solution for private cars. What are the advantages of long-term rental? And what are the disadvantages?

Long-term rental - advantages

1. Flexible contract terms  One of the key benefits of long-term rental is that the relatively low monthly payments mean you can easily control your finances. Instalments spread over a longer term can also be lower. 2. Cost reduction We all know that as soon as a new car leaves the showroom, its value drops greatly. With a long-term rental contract, everything you pay for is connected with use of the vehicle and the fuel, not the entire value of the vehicle. After the term of the contract, if you decide to buy it, the value of the car is determined according to the actual, i.e. market, value. What is the plus of this method? Low monthly instalment costs. 3. Professional support When you sign a contract with a well-known fleet rental company, you can be sure that you will be supported from beginning to end throughout the entire term of the contract. Regardless of whether you have an emergency, or simply a question about mileage, a long-

26

issue 65

Bulletin

term contract also means a long-term relationship. An example of this support is the professional helpline we provide which is fully manned by staff, or your own dedicated contact person. Another very convenient point is the fact that the rental instalment includes any necessary servicing work, including the periodic tyre change, and also a replacement car during the time of repair. 4. A wide range of vehicles When it comes to buying a new vehicle, your choice can sometimes be limited depending on your budget. However, this problem disappears with a long-term rental contract. Car rental companies offer a virtually unlimited range of vehicles to choose from. From passenger cars to vans, minibuses and small city cars for everyday use to prestige models - there will always be a vehicle to meet your individual needs. You can spread the higher total amount for a car over more instalments, which makes even expensive models more easily within reach. 5. A plus for the company bank balance Many large companies use long-term rental vehicles because it gives them more control over their vehicles and improves cash flow. This is because they can set their budgets accordingly, based on the monthly payments set down in the rental contract. In addition, the monthly fees for long-term rentals can be offset 100% against income, which is a big plus for entrepreneurs. Moreover, a longterm rental contract does not affect the company’s creditworthiness, and having the entire fee included on one invoice also limits the administrative costs incurred. Are you considering long-term rental? The advantages of this solution are so clear that they can easily be compared with other car financing solutions which are available. It’s always good to study all the possible options and then choose the optimal one, but long-term rental should definitely figure high on the list of the best ones. www.hitachicapital.pl

www.planetcarlease.pl

SPONSORED ARTICLE


Column Staf Beems

dating websites – I have no personal experience of them myself - people often make themselves appear younger or something, but the reality is totally different.

Entrepreneur and owner of Silesia Consulting

The advantage of the Chamber is that, first of all, they know the Dutch mentality and, secondly, they know the country where they are located - in this case Poland.

ADAM IS LOOKING FOR EWA Do not be shocked by the headline. This column is for people of all ages and not in any way related to the TV programmes in Holland and Germany. Moreover, I simply don’t believe that this new way of finding a partner through a TV programme, or dating site or other social media app for that matter, is a guarantee of success. Love should come spontaneously and unplanned. Business too, by the way. Why this introduction, you may wonder? On Wednesday 10 October, I was invited to a dinner party in Warsaw on account of the visit to the city of the Netherlands Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management. She was being accompanied by a ‘company mission’. I am not a native English speaker/writer but, personally, I would have chosen the term ‘trade mission’. Be clear in your message that you do not bring a ‘mission’, but that you come to Poland to do business. The concept of a trade mission is that a Dutch company wants to meet potential Polish business partners. ‘Adam looks for Ewa’ works on more or less the same principle. Adam or Ewa is looking for a partner, and that’s the message. The difference is that the stage management is in the hands of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce. And they should be proud of what was prepared. It is always good to see Holland paying attention to Poland. I sometimes have the impression that all the Dutch companies which need or want contacts in Poland have already contacts. It is therefore good to see that in 2018 Dutch companies still want to visit Poland. It is, of course, nice to see that Poland is open for Dutch contacts but, on the other hand, it is also nice to see that the Dutch commercial mentality is one of ‘let us travel and see what we can achieve’. During the time when I was managing the Dutch ANWB Emergency Centre, we were always surprised that whenever a plane was hijacked - and this happened quite often at that time – it seemed that there was almost always a Dutchman on board. In other words, Dutch people were always travelling to do business wherever possible. Incidentally, the second nationality was always Japanese. I am always the first to promote business contacts between countries and having lived and worked here (and sometimes I still do), everything connected to Poland and Holland goes straight to my heart. I realise that the days of the Polagra Fair in Poznań are over. We have arrived in a new world, where the internet enables us to make easy contacts all over the place. But the positive message of a trade mission is that you should try to build up a personal connection, like Adam and Ewa. How many people have been disappointed by the internet? When commercial contacts are made but the goods are never received? I’ve read that on

The second advantage of a visit to Poland for these visitors is that they can see with their own eyes how Poland looks in reality. Despite all the negative news about the present government, Poland is still a booming country in Central Europe. Furthermore, the Dutch media is sometimes too negative about the Polish people who work in Holland. Real entrepreneurs understand that Holland cannot operate anymore without this Polish support. I can only hope that the members of the trade mission took the correct approach towards their Polish counterparts. I was recently invited to give a presentation to a Dutch company with a sales office in Poland. They were having problems with their Polish sales staff and asked me for advice. They were in what we call BTB - Business to Business. I explained to them simply that Poland is not Holland, and that training their staff with phrases like „In Holland we do so-and-so” or even worse, „If I were you...” does not always work in Poland. For me, BTB has a completely different meaning where the initials stand for Be The Buyer. Think how you would like to be treated as a buyer and then take the view of the sales person. Too often, the selling party takes the lead and that is fundamentally wrong. Listen first to your potential customer before you start. There is nothing wrong with doing a powerpoint presentation, but first ask them whether you may do it, and then keep it short. And do not forget that every customer prefers personal contact. If you are trying to sell a product which your competitor also sells, it is you - as the selling party - who he should trust. Too often I am surprised that people forget the basics of sales. Train them especially to „love” the product they sell. Selling is about solving a problem of the buyer. It can be compared to a visit to the doctor. The customer/patient opens the meeting with his ‘problem’. The doctor listens and then comes back to the patient with more questions. Getting back to Adam and Ewa, it is of course no coincidence that both first names are often used in Poland. They lived in paradise. Poland is not always a paradise, and neither is Holland, but well-prepared Dutch companies can create their own paradise in Poland. Try to speak a little Polish, and prepare yourself with some facts about Poland. Read about the history of Poland. This year, Poland is celebrating 100 years of independence. Polish people are proud of their country. In the beginning, they can be rather formal so although they will introduce themselves with both their first name and family name, you shouldn’t start using their first name immediately. One last remark regarding the dinner party and the trade mission - the speech given by the Minister was much better than all the other ones given by her ex-colleagues who have visited Poland in the past. She was relaxed and she used all the right words. She even raised a toast „without a glass”, but she did it in the right way, with not just more beautiful words about the past but a message for the future. Poland - despite all the negative news about the present government - is a booming country. It is Europe’s number one in furniture exports, to give just one example. And as for the Chamber – please continue your activities to strengthen the links between Poland and Holland. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

This column is written à titre personnel and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NPCC board or its members.

issue 65

Bulletin

27


Column Huub Droogh Huub Droogh is an urbanist and partner of RDH Urban in Poznań

institutes to get influence in sectors and business areas far away from your traditional electorate… We’ve seen it all before and we see it happening again all over the world.

We have seen it before… In October this year, the day before the Polish local elections, Dutch journalist Ekke Overbeek published an essay in the ‘Trouw’ newspaper. The article was a clear and concise overview of recent developments in Poland after PiS took over the national government in 2015. In his essay, Overbeek highlighted the fact that over the last decade Poland has received 102 billion euros in financial support from the European Union. According to the article, this is a higher amount than the whole of Western Europe received after WW II under the Marshall Plan which was designed to get the economy back on its feet again. Generally speaking, these European subsidies have been spent well in Poland. Supported by the new and improved infrastructure projects which have been built over the years, Poland has been doing very well economically. Although most of this success can be put down to government policies from before 2015, the current government, as one might expect, still tries to claim the credit for it. With the knowledge that this inflow of euros from Brussels will decrease significantly after 2020, however, the anti-Europe rhetoric of the national government is increasing month by month. Increasing the anti-Europe sentiment, as well as creating enemies from abroad, will offer the current government opportunities to develop the potential voters which it will need to stay in power over a longer time. In his essay, Overbeek quotes the conservative writer, Rafał Ziemkiewicz, who claimed: ‘We took from Europe what we could, and now it’s time to leave.’ Although Polexit is not official party policy, this statement clarifies a lot about the government’s current actions. Who can imagine Poland in future as a net contributor to Europe with this government in charge? Much of what is happening in Poland nowadays follows a pattern that we have seen before when nationalism directs a country’s policy. Taking over the public media, attacking a country’s independent judicial system, abuse of the education system to build nationalistic messages directed towards the younger generation, the nationalisation of companies to create jobs for friends and additional funding for activities parallel to the official state budget, encouraging nationalistic parades which spread hate towards minorities, establishing governmental

Ekke Overbeek’s essay, however, raises the interesting question about what international business will do if Poland continues to develop in the way it is doing now. For civilised parts of society, it is sometimes difficult to imagine how easy it is for others to ignore, with no awareness or hesitation, moral and rational codes which seem so obvious. Generally speaking, we don’t like inconvenient truths. Before WWII, the leading German industrialists had their own excuses and self-interests which led to them looking away from the nationalist movements which finally won the country’s sentiment and governance. It wasn’t until the last decade that the Dutch people finally became aware of how, after the war, the Dutch government had allowed the violation of human rights during the so-called ‘politionele acties’ (‘police actions’) in Indonesia. The 102 billion euros from Europe have a wider aim than just boosting the economy. Shared values and moral codes, freedom of speech and individual safety are all part of the European project. Last week, I spoke to a second-year student in Poznań who was born in a post-Soviet country with a mainly Muslim population. Supported by a scholarship from Europe, this young man with light-brown skin is now trying to find his place within the global world. “It’s safer for me to pretend I am Spanish,” he declared. “This country isn’t so friendly for people from different backgrounds.” ‘Staying in constructive dialogue’, often cited as a valuable asset of the Dutch polder model, can easily turn into an attitude of not taking a position at a time when moral codes and basic rights are being violated. Jan Zwartendijk, the head of Philips and consul of the Netherlands in Lithuania, didn’t look away at the beginning of WWII. Taking his human responsibility seriously, he rescued thousands of Jews, ignoring instructions from his diplomatic superiors who didn’t take the same position. After the war, when the outcome of the holocaust couldn’t be ignored even by them, he was reprimanded, instead of rewarded, for not following consular instructions. His rehabilitation in Jan Brokken’s latest book ‘De Rechtvaardigen’ is more than deserved. This book should be compulsory reading for all members of the NPCC, businessmen as well as diplomats, to encourage the question: ‘What would I have done in a similar situation?’ Writing this column on 11th November 2018, on the evening of the ‘Independence March’ in Warsaw, this question is a very relevant one for us all.

This column is written à titre personnel and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NPCC board or its members.

28

issue 65

Bulletin


New members of

the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce

TTS Group TTS Group ASA is a global enterprise that designs, develops and supplies equipment solutions and services for the marine and offshore industries. TTS is one of the top three largest suppliers in its specialised market segments. TTS offers solutions that increase profitability and competitiveness by improving productivity, quality and system capacities. We aim to work closely with our customers to devise intelligent and innovative solutions. The close, flexible working relationships within the group enable us to assemble complete project teams when expertise in a range of fields is required. The group’s activities primarily involve the design, assembly and testing of equipment while, apart from manufacture of certain key components, production is undertaken by a global network of subcontractors. In 2013, the Group decided to create a company in Poland. TTS Poland was opened in April 2013 and provides services to its sister companies around the world. TTS Group Azymutalna 9 80-298 Gdańsk +48 58 760 30 40 www.ttsgroup.com

HSF Logistics Polska Sp. z o.o. We are a transport company specialising in the international freight of refrigerated goods. Our drivers carry out hundreds of deliveries daily to our customers in all countries of Western Europe. The work of our 650 drivers is monitored by our team of international dispatchers, who pilot the whole transportation process from their base in Szubin (Poland), a small town where the whole operating centre and planning of HSF Logistics Polska is located. HSF Logistics Polska has been operating since 2007 and presently employs over 700 employees. Last year, while celebrating our 10th anniversary, we also expanded our offices and opened new facilities. HSF Logistics Polska manages a huge fleet of heavy goods vehicles, which creates a lot of job opportunities for international lorry drivers. Our strengths are convenient work planning and attractive salaries. Additionally, HSF Logistics Polska cares about raising the skills of its drivers, so each new employee receives a thorough initiation and training. All HSF Logistics Polska drivers are given eco-driving training on the latest technologies of heavy goods vehicles and our fleet consists only of the newest trucks which are in service in our company for a maximum 3 years. HSF Logistics Jana Pawla II nr. 38 89-200 Szubin +48 52 39 11 700 info.polska@hsf.nl and quality, and our boats are equipped with the latest technology for catching and handling fish.

Van Slooten Shipbuilding Van Slooten Shipbuilding BV was established in 2009 and its main focus is on designing and building all types of fishing vessels in the Gdynia and Gdańsk area, mainly for markets in Western Europe. We have a wealth of experience in this field as we have been involved in this activity for many years. We offer only the highest standards

We work with Polish and Dutch subcontractors. We are also partners/ shareholders in Polish companies involved in the maritime industry Van Slooten Shipbuilding Breehorn 10 8321WP Urk +31 653167406 pieterlouwe@quotter.nl

ADVERTISEMENT

issue 65

Bulletin

29


Contribution Embassy Bulletin NPCC Natural fertilisation, nutrient management and improving soil quality Poland has seen more and more extreme weather events in recent years, with events such as droughts and floods the visible effects of the climate change that has long been forecast. Poland has poor natural conditions in terms of soil quality and also low water resources but it is clear that there has been a considerable increase in the level of attention being paid to soil and soil fertility in recent years. Arable farmers are increasingly aware of the positive interaction between organic matter, soil life and fertility, as well as water storage capacity. The Dutch Embassy has organised a number of events over the past few

years aimed at increasing knowledge about soil quality, including incoming and outgoing study visits for farmers, companies and Polish government officials focusing on natural fertilisation, nutrient management and improving soil quality. This autumn, Dutch companies providing solutions for soil analysis and fertilising were present in a Dutch Pavilion at the Agro Show in Bednary, and there was also a Dutch session on soil analysis and fertilising during the annual ODR conference (Provincial Agricultural Advisory Centres).

Increasing Dutch attention on the Polish flower and plant market Driven by economic growth, low unemployment and increasing salaries, the Polish market for flowers and plants has been growing rapidly and the Netherlands, as one of the leading countries in this area, has been a major beneficiary of this growth. Poland has developed into the fifth-largest export destination for Dutch flowers and plants, with total exports in 2017 reaching a record high of EUR 230m, a figure which has continued to grow in 2018. The

increased importance of the Polish flower market has resulted in more interest from Dutch flower companies. In September, dozens of companies participated in the Flower Expo and Green is Life exhibition in Warsaw, and in the autumn the Embassy organised visits to nurseries growing kalanchoë and cymbidium, and also to the Young Floricultural Network.

COP24 Several climate-focused events are being supported by the Embassy during COP24. In cooperation with the World Press Photo Foundation and Museum Śląski in Katowice, we are organising a stunning exhibition showcasing award-winning photographs from the World Press Photo Contests 20162018. The exhibition will feature photos from the ‘Nature’ category, which portrays our natural world and the human impact on the environment, and also from the additional ‘Environment’ category, which was introduced by the World Press Photo Foundation in 2018 as a new category in their ‘standard’ exhibition. Another project being planned, this time in cooperation with the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, IKEA and Polityka Insight, is a climate-themed

film festival, which aims to bring films with an environmental theme to a wide range of people in the Upper Silesian metropolitan area. Audiences will hopefully be inspired to take some eco-friendly steps in their own homes and surroundings, enabling them to live in a way which is also good for the climate and the environment. The event will consist of screenings, discussions, workshops and special events that will spark green ideas. The screenings will be followed by panel discussions featuring environmental and business leaders, experts and activists. The main focus of the event will be on climate change, sustainable living, human rights, zero waste, environmental activism, responsible tourism, local issues and COP24 itself.

Trade mission with Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen in Poland From 9 to 11 October the Netherlands Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Mrs. Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, was in Poland visiting three Polish cities - Wrocław, Warsaw and Gdańsk - together with 42 representatives from Dutch companies, knowledge institutes and local governments. The main goal of the visit was to explore business opportunities on the Polish market and stimulate Polish-Dutch partnership building on the themes of water and transport. In line with the mission’s theme of “Transport Connects, Water Unites”, a number of events were organised which provided participants with the opportunity to exchange best practices and share their views on the subjects

of water safety, freight transport, inland shipping and smart logistics. In addition to the seminars and round table discussions, the mission’s agenda also contained field visits to the Schavemaker rail terminal near Wrocław and the Port of Gdańsk, as well as a trade dinner. Several members of the Dutch business delegation also took part in B2B matchmaking sessions put on by the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce. The Minister actively participated in all the business-related parts of the programme and she also had formal meetings with her Polish counterparts. She discussed rail cooperation and road safety issues, among other subjects, with the Minister of Infrastructure, while in her meetings with the Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation a letter of intent on water management between Poland and the Netherlands was signed.

The conference on 25 October and the Polish Circular hotspot On 25 October 2018, the Deputy Ambassador, Mr. Raphael Varga van Kibéd, opened the Circular Economy Warsaw Summit, which was one of the events of Polish Circular Week 2018, organised by INNOWO and the Reconomy coalition, with content support from the Embassy. In addition to the Embassy’s presence and partnership, several other Dutch representatives were also present during the event, such as Mr. Joan Prummel and Ms. Tjitske IJpma from the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, who discussed the Dutch circular economy policy, including public circular procurement. The Dutch scientific approach was presented by Professor Jan Jonker from Radboud University, and the business approach was discussed by Mr. Rob Oomen from Madaster. The summit was a platform for extending

30

issue 65

Bulletin

Dutch-Polish cooperation in the area of the circular economy, and it was also the latest step in the efforts to create a Polish Circular Hotspot in cooperation with the Holland Circular Hotspot (https://hollandcircularhotspot. nl/en). The expected next steps in this process of setting up the Polish Circular Hotspot will be the creation of an online platform to share knowledge and experience as well as the signing of a cooperation agreement with the Dutch party in December 2018 during the COP24 summit in Katowice.


Photography © Rahi Rezvani

Nederlands Dans Theater is coming back to Poland in 2020, and you’re invited to be their partner In June 2016 the Netherlands Embassy in Warsaw completed the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union by bringing the Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT II) to Poland. Their performance received a standing ovation, with numerous requests for an encore. The Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT II) is one of the best-loved and most hard-working dance companies in the Netherlands, if not the world. With eight world premieres in the 2018/19 season and more than 70 performances worldwide – from Madrid to Melbourne, New York to Hong Kong, Stuttgart to Singapore - NDT is keen to share its artistic qualities, and also talent development programmes, with people all around the world. In 2020, NDT II is planning a tour of Poland, starting on 25 April and finishing on 3 May. The company will visit Lublin, Katowice and Bydgoszcz, performing works of their house choreographers, Sol León & Paul Lightfoot, and associate choreographer, Marco Goecke. Theatres in Poland have limited budgets, therefore additional funding is welcome in order to finance the travel and hotel costs of the dancers, choreographers and technical personnel, as well as the freight costs (decoration, costumes, props) and music rights.

performances in Poland in 2020. On posters, with a logo credit in the programme booklets, digital channels such as website and video trailers, and in all public relations communication concerning NDT’s performances in Poland, you will be mentioned as head sponsor of our tour. Additionally, you will receive 50 tickets for seats in the best section in the theatre for the opening night in Lublin (or for one of the other performances if you so wish). Sponsor €15,000 | As a sponsor, your organisation will be mentioned in NDT’s online media, and your organisation will be mentioned as a supporter of NDT’s tour with a logo credit in the programme booklet, on digital channels such as website and video trailers, and in all public relations communication concerning NDT’s performances in Poland. Additionally, you will receive 26 tickets for seats in the best section in the theatre for the opening night in Lublin (or for one of the other performances if you so wish). Supporter €5,000 | As a supporter, your organisation will be mentioned on NDT’s website and your logo will be in the programme booklets for the tour. You will receive 8 tickets for seats in the best section in the theatre for the opening night in Lublin (or for one of the other performances if you so wish).

NDT’s worldwide tours offer great opportunities for sponsorship, enabling organisations to associate themselves with high-quality, cutting-edge modern dance, innovation and a world-class artistic company.

In addition to this, all sponsors and their guests will be invited for a cocktail reception on the opening night, organised in cooperation with the Embassy of the Netherlands in Poland.

NDT offers a cultural platform for maintaining relations with your business network. Partnering with NDT provides a special setting with behind-the scenes access to the dancers and international choreographers, creating a lasting memory in your network.

Want more information? Contact the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands:

NDT offers 3 options for sponsorship.

Tel. 022-5591253 war-pcz@minbuza.nl www.ndt.nl

Head Sponsor €25,000 | As head sponsor, your organisation will be prominently visible in all communications surrounding the

Martin van Dijk or Katarzyna Kolman

issue 65

Bulletin

31


„Poland has always been a very important country for Exact” Bulletin talked to Filip Fludra, Country Sales Manager at Exact. We talked about the company’s competitiveness, developments and upcoming plans. Can you tell us something about Exact and the services that the company offers? “Exact helps businesses to make smarter decisions, quickly and easily. Our people, technology, software and services enable businesses to act with confidence. Serving entrepreneurial businesses is at the heart of what we do at Exact. We’re small enough to remember our own modest beginnings in 1984, yet large enough to be a global player, and we use our knowledge to provide you with software solutions that support every business activity and give real-time insight into your entire business.

and Exact ERP for manufacturers allows companies to streamline their manufacturing processes. Exact for BPM, CRM and document management also helps departments and employees to work together more efficiently from day one.” What differentiates you from other companies present in this business sector? “We are unique in that we work directly with our customers all over the world, designing solutions to anticipate their future needs. Working closely with our customers through implementation and lifetime

Our international finance software, Exact for Finance, will support any global company in areas ranging from budgeting, forecasting and consolidation to risk management and data analytics. Thanks to the full integration of all financial processes, we optimise efficiency with access to all the information that our customers need to take the correct strategic decisions. We support our customers in 40 different countries, with all the different languages and legislation. With Exact for Wholesale Distribution, you always have insight into the status of your inventory, orders and returns. An ERP system is the single source of truth which can drive your omnichannel strategy

32

issue 65

Bulletin

Elegant, cosy and modern interior of Exact’s HQ


support provides great insight and helps us to anticipate their needs better. Additionally, it affords us the opportunity to share the experience which we have gained from more than 100 countries. This is our biggest advantage when you consider your unified global business as you have one single point of contact in your implementation project and ongoing support no matter where you are in the world. The wide range of Exact solutions means that we cover all backoffice, transactional processes, like finance, invoicing, logistics, manufacturing, sales and purchasing. Additionally, front-office processes that require integrated workflow, document flow, project management and social collaboration, and almost any process that requires a combination of actions by different people across various departments in your company, are also well catered for.” Can you tell us about the biggest challenges that you face on the Polish market? “The biggest challenge here in Poland currently is the unpredictability of legislation changes that may appear in the future. As a software vendor, we are responsible for providing our customers with reliable systems where we guarantee that data is reported to the tax office correctly and that it can be used to make business decisions confidently. Sometimes lawmakers do not give us the time to adapt and make our systems compatible. But as for now, our passionate and committed team are doing a fantastic job as our clients have proper insight into their data and we continue to be fully compliant. This unpredictability is valid not only for us but also for our customers operating here in Poland. Predictability in the business environment is one of the most important considerations for us and our customers alike, and we will continue to face these challenges in order to give our customers one less thing to think about.”

Headquarters of Exact in Delft in the Netherlands

Exact has been present on the Polish market since 1992. Can you tell us something about the situation now and then? What do you perceive as the biggest change? “Our journey in Poland started more the 25 years ago in 1992. It was a completely different situation on the Polish market at that time. As Poland moved towards capitalism, digitalisation was a thing of the future for every entrepreneur, and nobody really knew what the added value of computer systems could be. There were not many software vendors in the Polish market at that time, if any, so implementation was almost like a free project - it can be summarised best as “Ok, let’s implement that software in our company.” The biggest change I see in market awareness is related to IT needs and expectations. Today, companies are already moving on from their first or even second ERP implementation. Lessons have been learnt from previous projects and customers are much more aware of what they want and need to achieve, which helps both us and them a great deal. We are treated not only as a software provider but as a trusted ERP partner. Today, we initiate large projects, starting very often from the proof of concept phase.

“At Exact, we are here to support Dutch international businesses by giving them one trustworthy partner around the world.”

Are there any Dutch touches that you implement in Exact’s structure here in Poland? “As a Dutch company, we cooperate very closely with our HQ in Delft. In Poland we operate via 4 departments. From a sales perspective, our team of account managers and new business development managers take care of existing and potential new customers. Implementation is done by our delivery department managed by my colleague, Wojciech Wileński. Locally, if needed, we also develop custom solutions to meet all the customer’s specific needs that support our standard implementations. If they have any questions about our products, our customers can contact our Customer Support department directly, where dedicated consultants are on hand to help our customers with their day-to-day affairs. We think globally and act locally as we believe that only a deep understanding of local needs means we can offer the highest level of support to our customers. On top of that local presence, all of our employees work closely on a daily basis with their support colleagues from our HQ in Delft.”

Both parties have very clear expectations of the quantifiable benefits they can enjoy following implementation. That helps a lot in keeping a project on track and finishing it with a happy customer and a positive referral.” What are your plans and aims for the coming months? “The Polish market is one of our key strategic directions for growth outside the Benelux countries. Poland has always been a very important country for Exact because of the potential of its economy and the people that contribute to that economy. We are constantly investing in our team and we have very ambitious expansion plans for Poland. To support our organic growth plans, our team has grown by 20% this year compared to 2017. My personal ambition for 2019 is to increase awareness of our presence here in Poland among all Dutch entrepreneurs. At Exact, we are here to support Dutch international businesses by giving them one trustworthy partner around the world.”

issue 65

Bulletin

33


NPCC Test Drive

BMW 5 Series:

Not much to complain about The BMW 5 series is the sweet spot in the BMW saloon car range. The 3 series is a bit like the iPad mini… it is pretty good, but for some people it is definitely too small. Whereas the 7 series is a bit like the iPad pro, which is like carrying around a tray. But the 5 series is like the original iPad - it is both powerful enough and big enough. It is also reasonably affordable. And really, this car is big enough for everyone. The back doors open very wide and there is plenty of room in the back, with enough knee room for the back passengers and also plenty of headroom. The middle seat is raised a little and the hump in the floor is massive, that’s true, but the car is wide enough that the people in the other two back seats will be fine. And then there are the other very practical elements as well, such as the airplane-style pockets in the back of the front seats, and the spaces in the doors and the middle console for a full water bottle. Sitting in the front seats is when you really notice the fantastic job that the BMW designers have done. It’s all very easy to use, and the driver’s position is spot on. You can just sit in it and happily cruise around for hours on end in total comfort, as we noticed on a trip from Warsaw to Olsztyn. It feels expensive and it is actually very well-equipped. The digital driver display comes as standard, as does the fully professional navigation system. It’s been updated so you can control it with a swivel wheel, by touchscreen or by voice control to tell it where you want to go. Once you get into the system, you’ll find loads and loads of other things to play with as well. This BMW 5 series is larger than its predecessor yet it still manages to be 100 kg lighter. In fact, it is the lightest car in its class. And that helps with the handling. It doesn’t feel like a sports car, but it’s

certainly agile enough. The steering is responsive and the car drives smoothly, though it’s a little hard on the lower M Sport suspension. It’s also worse if you have bigger wheels with run-flat tyres. So stick with smaller rims and normal tyres and then it’s the perfect quiet car for cruising around in, with not too much road noise and hardly any wind noise. It’s a very, very relaxing car to drive. All cars come with an automatic gearbox as standard. It’s got eight speeds and is absolutely brilliant. It gives smooth gear changes when you want it to, but when you put your foot down, it really responds immediately. The car has plenty of other cool features to admire as well. To increase fuel economy, the front grill remains shut until the engine needs to cool, and then it opens. You can also control the car with a mobile phone from quite a distance, which means, for instance, that you can lock it remotely. That makes it great fun for pranking anyone who you lend the car to. The car has soft close doors so you don’t even have to close the doors properly yourself as the car will do it for you, like a posh kitchen cabinet. You can also use the remote control to park the car in tight spaces. The number of cool features seems endless, and we could easily fill the opposite page with the full list. BMW is in a perpetual dogfight with the Mercedes Benz E-Class. However, the xDrive of the BMW that we drove is unrivalled. The Volvo V90 can match it with its efficient powertrain technology, but the interior is not on a par with the BMW. And although the Jaguar XF is a true driver’s car, not much else about it stands out. Overall, there’s not much to complain about with the 5-series and it offers a brilliant compromise between driving pleasure and overall saloon car excellence, regardless of engine size or spec.

We were invited to test drive the car by Car4Woman, run by Planet Car Lease which offers car rental programmes specifically tailored to women’s needs. For more information, go to car4drive.pl

34

issue 65

Bulletin


Column Remco van der Kroft Advocaat (Dutch licensed lawyer) and partner of Olczak-Klimek Van der Kroft Węgiełek

A few thoughts on 100 years of Poland On November 11, Poles celebrated the fact that 100 years ago Poland reappeared on the world map after it had been divided between Germany (formerly Prussia), Russia and the AustroHungarian empire for the previous 123 years. The last one hundred years of Polish history have been anything but trouble-free. Marshal Piłsudski, the godfather of Polish independence, gave up on attempts to build a democratic country after 8 years by instigating authoritarian rule in 1926. Just over a decade later, Poland became the first victim of German and Soviet aggression (1939) with the signing and execution of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. The aim of this pact was once again to divide Poland. Both the Germans and the Soviets then began the systematic murder of Poland’s ruling class (army officers, university professors, etc.). The Second World War cost the lives of almost 6 million Poles, half of whom were Jewish. That is roughly 17% of the 1939 population, the highest percentage of any country, and compares to 2.4% in the Netherlands. Despite the fact that Polish soldiers had played a major role in the liberation of Western Europe, and in the defence of the United Kingdom, after the war Poland was shifted a few hundred kilometres westwards and left at the mercy of Stalin by the other allied forces. More than 40 years of communism followed. In a way, the Second World War only really ended in Poland in 1989, and its scars are still very visible today. This is something that leaders in Western Europe should at times bear in mind when dealing with Poland. The other day, I watched a very interesting speech given by a young Israeli diplomat (a Palestinian!) a few years ago. One of the things he said was that after a national tragedy, people should first focus on building a future before dealing with the past. For the past 25 years, the Poles have been doing just that, building a future. Now, for some, it is time to deal with the past and try to undo former wrongs. This is a sentiment that the ruling party so cleverly took advantage of to win power in the parliamentary elections. Three years later, it was not enough to be able to claim outright victory in the local elections. The results of the municipal elections were such that both PiS and the opposition had grounds to claim victory. Everything depends on the perspective from

which you are looking at it. The country is hopelessly divided (to a large extent along the borders of the partitions of a hundred years ago). These divisions were also very clear during the Independence Day celebrations on November 11. Each group had their own celebrations. The only ones that ended up together were the nationalists (spiced up with a handful of fascists from Poland and abroad) and the government, and more than 200,000 normal citizens who like to celebrate/commemorate everything (from the Warsaw uprising to a win for their favourite football team) with white and red fireworks, making it all look like war. Unfortunately, the headlines in some Dutch newspapers referred to a march of 200,000 fascists in Warsaw. This sort of bad PR is the last thing this country needs. When all this starts to get you down, all you have to do is listen to an economist. The annual growth rate for 2018 is forecast to be over 5%, which is much higher than anyone expected! During a recent lecture hosted by my firm for Dutch entrepreneurs on the coming 20 years in Poland, Rob Rühl, a former ING economist who was flown in from the Netherlands for this special occasion by the NPCC, predicted that Poland will soon become the 5th (assuming that Brexit will happen) economy in the EU (ahead of the Netherlands), and that its economic growth will continue to be well above that of the Eurozone. So there are reasons for optimism. Post Scriptum A day after I finished writing my column, probably the first one that my PiS friends (yes, I still have a few!) will like, the saga of the Supreme Court took an interesting twist. The government pushed a new law on the Supreme Court through the Sejm in one day (this has become a tradition). The law confirms what was the case anyway: the judges that were forced to retire never ceased to be judges of the Supreme Court and Małgorzata Gersdorf never ceased to be the first president of the Court. The original law that forced Supreme Court judges into early retirement was invalid anyway as it directly contravened the Polish Constitution. Most probably it was also contrary to European Law. Therefore, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently ordered Poland to let all retired judges return to work and also to leave the position of First President unchanged. After some strong rhetoric from certain members of the ruling party threatening that Poland may be forced to ignore this ruling of the ECJ, the government backed down. As a way of saving some face (at least in the eyes of its electorate), the above-mentioned law was adopted. It is good to see that the EU still works in Poland, and that the continued protests of so many can lead to a victory. It is one battle won but it does not mean that the rule of law has fully returned. This success should be an inspiration to remain vigilant and to continue to defend democratic values.

This column is written à titre personnel and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NPCC board or its members.

issue 65

Bulletin

35


ADVERTISEMENT

Bulletin no. 65 WInter 2018  
New
Advertisement