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Ball 2017 Flagship event receives fresh impulse

• Interview with regional Chairman Ben van de Vrie • Analysis on the labour market shortage

61 Winter 2017

We wish all the members and friends of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber  of Commerce a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2018 on behalf of:

cp group

Specialized Translations

Bulletin Winter 2017 4 NPCC Editor’s note 5





Ben van de Vrie – Chairman of the Netherlands Branch on new perspectives for the NPCC


A nnual flagship event of the NPCC gathers 48.000 PLN for charity


Ben van de Vrie – Regional Chairman in the Netherlands



Your own company - how to start without having a car?


Staf Beems


Huub Droogh


Orange Ball 2017 Where business and entertainment meet



M  atchmaking NPCC helps companies enter Polish and Dutch market


Rob Ruhl on labour market climate


Remco van der Kroft

Rob Ruhl – NPCC Board Member on labour market climate in Poland

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Editor’s note Dear Readers, While I was writing this column in the last week of November, we received a visit in our office from our member Cees Wagemans of Owocowy Kubek. Several years ago, he came up with the raw business idea of chopping up pieces of fruit and putting them into small cups. We helped him develop this concept and serviced him with our matchmaking programme, where we were able to introduce him to, amongst others, Carrefour, his biggest client until today. Recently, a category manager from Lidl picked up one of these fruit cups in Carrefour and invited Cees to supply Lidl as well, a chain with over 600 shops in Poland. This is great news and we are glad that we were able to help Cees with the start of his successful company in Poland.

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: Elro van den Burg Editor: Anna Kozińska Columnists: Huub Droogh Staf Beems Remco van der Kroft Photos: Elro van den Burg Netherlands Embassy in Poland Advertisement management: NPCC Contact: +48 22 419 54 44


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Our matchmaking work has been quite successful in the past season, and not only with regards to Owocowy Kubek. At the start of the New Year you will be able to find plastic pots from the Polish producer Branq in Xenos, thanks to us. And we also serviced several incoming missions with our matchmaking services. In October we helped 9 companies from WTC Friesland to find clients and suppliers and in November we supported an incoming mission organised by the RVO (Netherlands Enterprise Agency) and the Netherlands Embassy on water and waste management. We connected Dutch companies with representatives of local government, companies specialising in waste management and the water industry in Poland. This is also good news for our current members because Dutch companies often come back after the initial visit where we can introduce them to our current members. Looking back at the past three months, we have had a number of highly successful events. We delivered the wonderful Orange Ball, with 300 guests, a new location and a new charity cause for which we raised 48,000 PLN. You can read more about this event further in this issue of ‘Bulletin’. In October we organised a transport seminar together with the Netherlands Embassy at the premises of the Raben Group in Poznań and there is an article about that on page 16. In the same month, we also organised a very successful speed mixer in Warsaw together with seven other bilateral chambers of commerce which was attended by more than 300 guests. In December we experimented slightly with the concept of our business drink and we were treated to a fascinating crisis management workshop/presentation by Jaco Ottink (Beyond Summits), based on his experiences as a professional climber who has scaled Mount Everest. Furthermore, we are very excited about the new activities of our chapter in the Netherlands. Led by Ben van de Vrie, the team organised its first event in the premises of ING Bank in Amsterdam and it proved an excellent opportunity for our members to participate and mix with other members from the Netherlands. Following the merger with the Netherlands Polish Council for Trade Promotion, we also welcome Ben van de Vrie, Peter Verheij and Rob Ruhl onto the board of the NPCC. I hope you enjoy reading this latest issue of our magazine and I wish you happy holidays and a peaceful and relaxing time with your loved ones. Let me be one of the first to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2018. I hope to see you soon at one of our NPCC events. Are we getting it right? Let me know at Elro van den Burg Managing Director of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce




Activities of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce 19 January 2018 New Year’s Reception Location: Poznań More info will be announced via our website

February 2018 Speed Business Mixer Location: Poznań More info will be announced via our website

February 2018 Conference on Employer Branding with Randstad Location: Warsaw More info will be announced via our website

February 2018 Business Breakfast for new members Location: Warsaw More info will be announced via our website

6 March 2018 Business Drink Location: Warsaw More info will be announced via our website

March 2018 Company Visit Location: Łódź More info will be announced via our website

April 2018 Speed Business Mixer Location: Łódź More info will be announced via our website

April 2018 King’s Day Location: Poznań More info will be announced via our website

May 2018 Speed Business Mixer Location: Gdańsk More info will be announced via our website

5 June 2018 Business Drink Location: Warsaw More info will be announced via our website

Please follow our NPCC website: for an updated calendar issue 61



Ben van de Vrie:

“We needed a partner on the ground in Poland” As a result of the merger between the NPCH (Netherlands Polish Council for Trade Promotion) and the NPCC, a new chapter of our Chamber has been established in the Netherlands. Bulletin talked to the Chairman of the chapter and former Chairman of the NPCH, Ben van de Vrie. Can you tell us something about yourself? Ben van de Vrie, Chairman of the NPCC’s Netherlands chapter: “I am 55 years old and live in Amstelveen with my family. I have 3 kids, and work for Mondriaan Management & Consultancy Company and I also have several minority stakes in SME companies. I studied general economics at the University of Amsterdam and started working for ING as a management trainee long time ago. Initially I planned to stay not so long because I thought it would be a great experience and education, but I liked it a lot and ended up staying at ING for 27 years. I started my career in the bank with SME companies, became branch manager in Amsterdam and later regional manager of Amsterdam. In 2004 I came to Poland and I was part of the Board of ING Bank Śląski. I worked there for almost 5 years but then returned to Holland in 2009 where I was responsible for SMEs and mid-corporates in Europe, including in Poland. So, I stayed in contact with Poland for another 4 years and then in 2013 I became Head of Marketing and Strategy for ING Bank Netherlands in the business division. I left ING in 2015 to have more time for family and other business opportunities. Besides business I love my family and I am very fond of sailing, outdoor activities and running.” You worked for 5 years in Poland. What was your impression of the country? “When I came to Poland I thought that it would be simple to work there because of my experience in the banking sector but that it would be very difficult from the personal side because Poland did


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not have a great reputation regarding living standards and the quality of life. But in reality it was the opposite. We enjoyed our family life as we had a nice house in Warsaw and everything actually went very smoothly. Working was more difficult, however, especially in the beginning. It took me some time to get really familiar with the Polish way of working. We had a large company, with only a few expats, so... there was a language issue at that time. It also took me some time to get familiar with other aspects of the Polish way of working, especially since I was working with a lot of SMEs in the country. I started, with eight regional visits, where I saw a lot of entrepreneurship, a lot of Polish companies developing and also a lot of international companies present in different places. I had not been so aware of that from a distance, from the Dutch point of view.” Why did you choose to become active in the NPCH and stay involved with your Polish connections? “Although I have also worked in Turkey and Romania, I think the business connections that I have in Poland are a bit closer to me. It’s partly because I stayed longer in Poland and secondly, it’s quite difficult to express this, but I became more aware about the development of Turkish business and Turkish politics. The link between politics and business in Turkey can be very close. You have to deal with the government in a much more delicate way, sometimes asking for permission and comply with special regulations which are less common in Poland. So, from the transparency perspective, I would prefer Poland to Turkey.” Can you tell me why the NPCH decided to merge with the NPCC? “There were several reasons for that. First of all, both organisations had already been working closely together for a long time so there was a good connection between two institutions. Secondly, we have seen the market for international business consulting change over the past few years. More and more companies also want to receive day-to-day information about Poland and have somebody to talk to in the country.

It is very different compared to a few years ago, when Poland was maybe much further away. So from our side we really needed a partner which was connected and on the ground in Poland. The real trigger to this merger was the fact that our umbrella organisation, the NCH, stopped operating. As a result, we would either have to work much more closely with other bilateral chamber organisations under this umbrella or we could choose a bilateral cooperation with the NPCC. We chose the latter because that was what we felt would work best. On the one hand, we would stay very focused on Poland, but at the same time we could offer the NPCC a foothold in the Netherlands to gain information from potential members and provide a link to the government in the Netherlands.” Was it difficult to bring the two organisations together? Was it an easy fit? “In theory, I thought it would be rather an easy fit. In practice, it is always more difficult. The culture differences are not very big, because we all have the same background, and the aim of both organisations was also quite clear. However, if you merge, you somehow lose part of your independence, especially if you merge with a bigger organisation and the NPCC is a much bigger organisation than the NPCH was. So you gain something, but you also lose something. It took some time for people to make the sacrifice in terms of independence. So you have to create your strategy with a bigger partner and this was the difficult part. And secondly, we also had the NPCH who asked us to be very good in starting new connections and this also cost us half a year in order not to make decisions too quickly.” Could you describe the additional benefits that the merger will bring for your NPCH members? “I think that there are several points here. First of all, there is a much bigger network which members will have access to. Secondly, there are many more activities offered to the members and they will also be part of a much bigger organisation. The main point, however, is that the NPCC is present in Poland in different places, not only in

Signing of the preliminary merger during the Orange Ball. From left to right: Peter Verheij, Elro van den Burg, Ben van de Vrie

Warsaw, so this opens up many more opportunities for people who want to do business in Poland. Furthermore, there is a large knowledge and experience base in the NPCC that we can also benefit from. So the network, activities, a foot on the ground in Poland and the knowledge base - these are, in my opinion, all the benefits of the merger for former NPCH members.” And what are the advantages for NPCC members, in your opinion? “Many companies of course have their activities in both countries, with their headquarters very often located in the Netherlands, so we have good access to all those players and we can help to connect them. Secondly, we can promote the NPCC in many different organisations in the Netherlands like RVO (Rijksdienst voor ondernemingen), at export events and so on, where we can push the Polish agenda and the NPCC itself would not be able to be present there because it is simply not possible to go to all the events that take place here. Last, though certainly not least, we have a good connection with VNO, the Dutch employers’ organisation, as well as different

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ministries, and through those contacts we can have an impact on economic, foreign and trade policy towards Poland. If there are issues, we have a way-in to clear those issues and if you want to have an influence on the agenda of different ministries as regards Poland or Dutch trade relations with Poland, we have an opportunity to do something.” Can you introduce us to the people on the board of the Dutch chapter? “The Vice-Chairman is Peter Verheij, who is responsible within ING for trade relations. He has excellent connections with different institutions around the Netherlands and Poland is important for ING because they have a big operation there. Secretary of the chapter is Rob Ruhl, who is from Next Market Advisory, which offers analyses on more developed countries outside of the Netherlands. He has had a long-standing focus on Poland, and is also connected to Oxford Economics, which offers a large data base of regional economic data. Also on the board is Peter de Ruiter, a former tax specialist for Price Waterhouse Coopers, who also worked in Poland but a bit earlier than when I was there. He has a lot of international experience and he will take on the role of treasurer on our Board. Then we have a Polish member, Karin Figel, who is a lawyer with a lot of trade relations with Poland. So we have a small board but it has a wide variety of specialisations and knowledge.” What are the activities for the Chamber in the upcoming year 2018? “We are planning several activities: two larger events, and one also including the Dutch-Polish Business Award in the first quarter. Secondly, a really big business event in the second half of the year, so two main larger events. We also plan events focussed on several sectors connected with the Top-Sector policy of the Dutch government. I am thinking about agriculture, the flower sector and the gaming sector. But our annual

Netherlands Chapter

calendar is still in the making so for sure we will offer a broad variety of events.” What other plans do you have for next year? “Besides deciding on the new calendar of events, we will also seek more cooperation with organisations like EVO, the Dutch Kamer van Koophandel and local municipalities like Enschede, Amsterdam and others. Secondly, we are planning to set up together with the board of the NPCC an advisory board with senior members of management from companies that have a stake in Poland. That is something we want to achieve for 2018.”

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Ball 2017 raises 48,000 PLN for Szlachetna Paczka

On Saturday 9 September, the Orange Ball, formerly known as the Charity Rijsttafel Ball, was organised by the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce. During the raffle and auction held during the event, a total of 48,000 PLN was raised to support the Szlachetna Paczka (Wiosna Foundation) charity foundation. The event took place at Mińska 65, with catering provided by the Intercontinental Hotel, and the 300 guests included Ambassador of the Netherlands Ron van Dartel.

front of an orange Fiat Maluch. The NPCC had ensured that the foyer was filled with a number of attractions such as mime artists, a KLM aeroplane seat with 3d glasses to provide a realistic flight experience and also several cars to admire, such as a Mercedes and a Tesla. There was also the acoustic opening performance by Marcin Patrzalek, a young and very talented guitarist who got the audience warmed up nicely for the rest of the evening.

As every year, the Ambassador of the Netherlands in Poland, Ron van Dartel, opens the buffet with a traditional gong

As the evening sun set, the smartly-dressed guests began to pour into the venue where they were greeted by hostesses and a welcome drink, and where they could have their picture taken in


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This year the NPCC decided to give its flagship event an almost complete makeover. One of the first things that was changed was the venue. This year the organising committee chose ‘Minska 65’ - a former Polish printing house where it was still possible to feel the industrial vibe of the previous tenants of the building. Added to that is the fact that much of the old style of the building has been retained. The event was also given a new name and the title Orange Ball was chosen to reflect the Dutch national colour. Not surprisingly, orange was the dominant colour scheme for the event.

All funds raised during the Orange Ball 2017 were passed to Wojciech Kmiecik from Szlachetna Paczka

Achieving the charity target

Letter of intent During the event representatives of the NPCC and the NPCH (Netherlands Polish Council for Trade Promotion), in the presence of the Netherlands Ambassador Ron van Dartel, signed the merger

Guests dancing and enjoying the music of Jimmie Wilson – a Eurovision Song Contest representative

agreement. The joint organisation will be a single point of contact for Dutch companies doing business in Poland. When the guests entered the spacious main room to take their seats, they were entertained by a number of dancers but the evening’s entertainment didn’t stop there. Other highlights included a circus act performing at the tables, Jimmie Wilson’s first performance and an ice-carver who made an ice sculpture in the form of a crown, in tribute to the Dutch royal family.

The merger between the NPCC and NPCH was officially signed during the annual flagship event

This enabled the participants, mainly Dutch companies in Poland coming from regions all around the country, to mingle and mix with other guests at their tables. After a short speech, the Netherlands Ambassador in Poland, H.E. Ron van Dartel, opened the Indonesian Buffet with a firm blow on the gong.

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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 spring rolls, fish and marinades. Just like last year, the exquisite menu was put together by chef Wilko Hoogendoorn and pastry chef Debora Hoogendoorn de Bel from the Netherlands.

One of the main prizes - a voucher for one year’s free gas and electricity at home provided by Energy Match - was won by Daniel Heinst from Kownaty Parki

Paczka Lekarzy The charity cause of the Orange Ball, Paczka Lekarzy, is a new initiative intended to support poor families from the wellknown Szlachetna Paczka organisation with medical care. The aim of the project is to help a family member that is affected by an illness or disability which stands as a barrier to them functioning normally in Polish society. Doctors can also guide them and search for places where the family can seek help. With the money raised from the Orange Ball, the initiative now has enough funds to start operating fully. Supported by presenter Elro van den Burg and Operations

T-shirt belonging to Marcin Gortat, a souvenir ball from RIO 2016 signed by the Polish handball team, a signed copy of former national team goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek’s book, football shirts given by Bayern Munich players Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben, a one-night stay at the InterContinental Berlin and six engraved Belvedere Vodka bottles. Delicious Indonesian catering and live cooking stations prepared by the InterContinental Hotel and our expert chefs from the Netherlands

Manager Anna Kozińska, the hostesses from Szlachetna Paczka sold regular and golden tickets for the charity cause. The auction featured many interesting items, including a football shirt signed by Polish national team player Grzegorz Krychowiak, a signed


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All these special prizes ensured the fantastic amount of 48,000 PLN raised for the charity cause. The musical attraction of the evening was a performance by the PGA Band that turned out to be the big musical surprise of the evening. After this brilliant performance, Jimmie Wilson and his band took to the stage and that was the moment the party really started. Wilson is a true master of the stage and he kept the audience highly entertained for more than an hour and a half.

Volunteers from Szlachetna Paczka helping with the fund-raising raffle

Dancers opening the dance floor in the third room

An evening full of surprises

When the last guests left the building at around 3 o’clock in the morning, it was clear that yet another edition of the NPCC’s flagship event had been a tremendous success. We want to extend our gratitude and appreciation to the sponsors and partners of the event. This fantastic event could not have been organised without the help of the main sponsor ING Bank Śląski. We also thank our co-sponsors Planet Car Lease, Philips, Otto Work Force, KLM, MB Motors, BGŻ BNP Paribas, Raben, Nationale Nederlanden, Randstad, Alna Business Solutions, Grupa Żywiec, Arcadis, TB Truck & Trailer Serwis, European Work First, Belvedere Vodka, Axell Group, Gosselin, 24/7 Communication and Bols, as well as our media partners Radio Kolor, Warsaw Business Journal, Warsaw

PGA Band gave an outstanding performance on the main stage

Insider, LaVie Magazine and Szlachetna Paczka – Wojciech Kmiecik and Joanna Stobierska for their great cooperation and all their volunteers for their help at the event itself. We also want to thank Jeroen van der Toolen and Erik Drukker for arranging the orange Maluch and BM Housing for providing their furniture for free. This event would not be possible without the support of the Orange Ball organising committee - Marc Goudemont, Nico Roskam, Remco van der Kroft, Maurice Idsardi, Elro van den Burg, Anna Kozińska, Ilona Wiśniewska and Magdalena Nowak.

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news and events

Speed Business Mixer in Kraków

Artur Sudenis from Planet Car Lease during the SBM in Kraków

Sinterklaas visits Poznań and Wrocław

On 28th September the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce, along with 6 other Chambers, organised a Speed Business Mixer in Kraków. The event was attended by around 60 participants representing different nationalities and diverse business sectors, providing many opportunities to mingle, find new business partners and build a basis for potential cooperation in the near future. The meeting took place in the charming surroundings of Browar Lubicz, in the post-industrial Old Malt House, which is where the brewing tradition which has been maintained over the last 170 years first started and where tradition and business have the chance to meet. Our special thanks go to NPCC partner - MRK Radcowi Prawni - for their support of this networking event.

NPCC celebrates opening of NL Branch

In keeping with well-established Dutch traditions in Poland, Sinterklaas has again been visiting various places around the country. A very warm welcome was reserved for him on 2 December in the Silesia region, where he was helped by Staf Beems and Joanna Kwaśniowska. Around 40 people were present at that event and about the same number were present at the Sinterklaas visit in Poznań organised by the Chamber’s Wielkopolska circle. Sinterklaas received special help on that occasion from Kees van Rijn, Bas Zegers, Tomasz Wielgus and Piet Koppert.

Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet with the Dutch community in Poznań


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Ben van de Vrie during the first meeting in the Netherlands explaining the merger of the NPCC and NPCH

The NPCC recently celebrated the opening of its new Netherlands branch by organising a seminar for our members and contacts located there. During the meeting, which took place in the ING Bank’s headquarters in the Netherlands on 30th October, two keynote speeches were made by NPCC board member Rob Ruhl and NPCC chairman Remco van der Kroft, who presented the latest economic and legal perspectives on Poland. The NPCC would like to thank ING for sponsoring this event.

The opening of a new NPCC branch in the Netherlands is the result of the merger between the Netherlands Polish Council for Trade Promotion (NPCH) and the NetherlandsPolish Chamber of Commerce (NPCC). The new joint organisation acts as a single point of contact for Dutch companies doing business in Poland and will operate under the name of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce (NPCC). Thank you ING Bank for supporting this event.


news and events

FDI Debate on TriCity

Pomeranian district took place in Gdynia which was attended by over 60 guests representing various business sectors, municipal governments and local business organisations. The event was organised by 6 Chambers of Commerce: the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce, the ScandinavianPolish Chamber of Commerce, the FrenchPolish Chamber of Commerce, the Belgian Business Chamber, the German Chamber of Commerce and the Swiss Chamber of Commerce.

Panellists at the FDI Debate share their thoughts on the investment climate in the TriCity region

On 19th October a regional debate on the influence of Foreign Direct Investment in the

These bilateral chambers of commerce reflect the interests of a diverse group of foreign investors present on the Polish market. The results of the report were presented by Adam Czerniak, Chief Economist at Polityka Insight, who discussed the key theses of

Record-breaking Mixer The latest networking Speed Mixer organised by 8 bilateral Chambers of Commerce took place on 7th November in Warsaw. In view of the many months which had passed, the event attracted a record-breaking number of participants. Over 300 business people representing the different chambers listened to many interesting presentations, gave elevator pitches regarding their business, exchanged business cards and enjoyed an evening of networking.

Representatives of the various chambers of commerce welcome guests at the event

On this occasion, the Speed Business Mixer was held in the elegant surroundings of the Westin Hotel, which served tasty finger food accompanied by some exquisite Portuguese

wine sponsored by Marques De Borba. Our special thanks go to the NPCC’s partner, Anna Schmidt from Career Partners International, for supporting this networking event.

the report mainly from the perspective of the Pomeranian area. The panel debate was attended by representatives of the local authorities and also representatives of foreign investors in the region: Katarzyna Gruszecka-Spychala, VicePresident of the City of Gdynia, underlined that, ‘we all want to create a Pomeranian area which is the best place to live and invest’; Alan Aleksandrowicz, Chairman of the Board at InvestGDA, explained that, ‘in the last couple of years the inflow of FDI has accelerated rapidly in the Pomeranian region, which gives a chance to show the potential of this region’; Piotr Ciechowicz, Vice-Chairman of the Pomerania Development Agency, and Krzysztof Iwański, Personnel Director at Dovista, were also present.

Laurens Bom passes away

Laurens Bom

We regret to announce that Laurens Bom, Chairman of the Dutch association Poolshoogte in Warsaw between 2009-2010, passed away on 24 November.

Participants giving their elevator pitches

He was 39 years old. Laurens was a Director at Deloitte in the Netherlands and he was based in Warsaw from 2008 to 2010, where he was responsible for audits of Polish subsidiaries of multinationals in the manufacturing sector. He also helped to set up Deloitte’s Dutch desk in Warsaw. The Board and Staff of the NPCC offer their sincere condolences to all his family and friends.

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news and events

Successful first Dutch Transport Seminar in Poznań

On 18 October, together with the Netherlands Embassy, we organised a transport seminar in Poznań. The event was organised at the premises of the Raben Group and it gave the 70 people who attended the opportunity to listen to seven speakers present a range of current topics from the sector. The speakers included the Netherlands Ambassador Ron van Dartel and CEO Ewald Raben of the Raben Group. Maciej Wroński, President of Transport and Logistics Poland, presented his association’s standpoint on the Posted Workers issue, and there was a panel discussion with Maciej Pinczak, MD of Nijhof-Wassink Poland, and Sjef

Transport Seminar attracted over 70 participants

Boekestijn, Operations Boekestijn Transport.



The afternoon saw presentations by Deloitte on cybersecurity, NewWays Brabant on intermodal transport, Trimble on telematics solutions and the institute of logistics and warehousing in Poznań. We would like to thank the Raben Group for offering the location and for providing the delicious lunch.

Ewald Raben - CEO of Raben Group and host of the first Transport Seminar in Poznań

Chambers write letter about the ZUS law In November the NPCC, as a partner in the International Group of Chambers of Commerce, sent a joint letter of concern


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about the new bill on the social insurance system to Deputy Prime Minister Morawiecki. By doing so, we wanted to express our concerns regarding several aspects of the new law. First and foremost, we are concerned about the speedy legislative process, which makes it very difficult to make necessary amendments. Bills with such a big impact should also be announced at an earlier stage so that companies are able to anticipate and take

action accordingly. The higher cost of employees will also have an impact on the number of new jobs that will be created, especially in the high value-added sectors which tend to be well-paid jobs. In our letter, we asked for the bill to be suspended, or at least postponed until January 2019, so that employers can prepare themselves fully for the new situation.

During 85 years in the Netherlands and 20 years in Poland our family owned company developed a unique combination of its disciplines.

Temporary Employment

Inhouse services

Value added logistics



Accounting & payrolling

Axell Group De Buskes 14 5087 MA Diessen

Axell Group Puławska 457 02-844 Warszawa

+31 13 504 65 04

+48 734 176 841


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from our members

ING Bank Śląski the safest bank in Poland ING Bank Śląski has been recognised as the safest bank in Poland and the third safest bank in Central and Eastern Europe in a ranking prepared by Global Finance magazine. According to the publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Global Finance, „The ‘safest banks’ ranking presents banks that operate on a sound basis. They provide security and stability in a dynamic and changing environment.” The ‘safest banks in the world’ were selected on the basis of their long-term credit ratings prepared by the Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch agencies. For the ‘safest banks in a given country’ category, the survey assessed 1000 of the largest banks in the world, and for the ‘safest banks in a region’ category, the 500 largest banks were evaluated.

Loving Vincent on the Big Screen all around the world On 6th September ‘Loving Vincent’ finally hit the big screen in Poland, with a simultaneous

release in 135 other countries as well. ‘Loving Vincent’ is the world’s first fully-painted feature

film. Written and directed by Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman, and produced by NPCC member BreakThru Films and Trademark Films, the film brings the paintings of Vincent van Gogh to life as it tells his remarkable story. Every one of the 65,000 frames of the film is an oil-painting hand-painted by 125 professional oil-painters who travelled from all around the world to the ‘Loving Vincent’ studios in Poland and Greece to be a part of the production. We all know how brilliant Van Gogh’s paintings are, but it is not so well-known just how remarkable his passionate and ill-fated life was, and also his mysterious death. No other artist has attracted more legends than Vincent van Gogh. Variously labelled a martyr, a lustful satyr, a madman, a genius and a layabout, the real Vincent is revealed in his letters, but obscured by myth and time. As he himself said in his last letter: ‘We cannot speak other than by our paintings’. This ground-breaking film takes him at his word and lets the paintings tell the real story of Vincent van Gogh.


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Your own company - how to start without having a car? At first, early man just used his own two feet. Then he started riding camels, dog sleds and horses. As the development of civilisation gained momentum over the years, this led to other means of transport being invented. Today, it is hard to imagine the economy without the horse, or rather horsepower, to be precise. It is difficult to operate in the business world without following its dynamic. It is this mobility that allows us to reach our customers and move around from place to place. Examples? There is an infinite number of them. Starting from commuting to the office and ending with the delivery of goods.

The monthly fee is similar to what you pay when choosing a traditional lease and just consider how many more benefits it includes. Classic leasing does not give us all these services. And when the contract is coming to an end, there is the possibility to return the car or to purchase it. We usually recommend exchanging it for another, newer model. After all, a car is designed to move and it does not have to be a family member. Do business, and don’t waste time getting surrounded by things. The key element in this puzzle is buying the right car. Remember that a rental company buys hundreds of cars on the market, which gives it much greater punching power than you. The discount offered to them guarantees a lower price and is an important safeguard for the transaction itself. As is commonly known, any car leaving the sales showroom loses its value immediately after it drives off the forecourt. And that is the main concern of the lessor.

When starting your own business, you are immediately entered on the register of entrepreneurs and the cacophony of phone calls from financial institutions begins. Bank accounts, leasing or credit cards - the gate to many offers becomes wide open to us. And even though we are usually immune to the various temptations coming to us from call centres, only a few people are lucky enough to be able to start their first business with no cash flow issues. That’s why we eventually become open to these offers. In the end, leasing has its advantages, as does revolving credit. The “credit card” also becomes very appealing. But soon there is a clash with reality. Yes, the chance of a loan seems real but getting a large one is always subject to such strict conditions that the loan is only possible after we make our first „big” money. Leasing is also very possible, but the first payment, the terms of the agreement and all the formalities for the newly-established business all become a formidable wall to jump over. Then the colourful bubble bursts and the new entrepreneur remains alone on the battlefield. Because you can have everything only when you already have enough. But if you do not have enough, you cannot have more. In the meantime, long-term rental has become one of the most interesting solutions for having and using a vehicle of your choice. On what rules? They do not differ from those that apply to leasing, but in addition, within the rental fee, you also receive insurance, servicing, tyres and a replacement car. In the event of an accident, it includes assistance too.

Planet Car Lease is a Dutch-Flemish-owned company with extensive experience in co-operating with newly-established businesses. Our extensive knowledge of the market, rental services and possible transactional prices are also our strong assets. We understand the needs of the start-up and we can tailor our offer to the needs and capabilities of the customer. We believe in your business. Moreover, we want to build it with you. We do not operate via huge call centres. We cannot speak with the speed of a Formula One car, but we invite you to a sincere and honest conversation. Check out our website, or call +48 22 223 60 60

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Column Staf Beems Entrepreneur and owner of Silesia Consulting

FREE AS A BIRD I am sitting on my terrace, watching the birds who are eating my bread and seeds. The year has almost come to an end and involuntary I think back to the year of 2017; what was nice, what could have been better and what went wrong. To avoid feeling too much chagrin, I will not come back to the political scene around us. I could also tell you about my volunteer projects from this year (sales and marketing)in Mali, Suriname, Ethiopia and Bulgaria. But no, I will not do this because I want to take you with me to the animal world as we can learn and copy so much from them. I am not a member of the Dutch Political Party for Animals. I eat meat and do more things which - maybe - God has forbidden, such as smoking cigars. Let us start with the birds. I cannot distinguish which bird is which. Of course, I know the sparrow, the pigeon and every morning when I walk with my dog I am greeted by some birds of prey. I see two deer running away when they see my dog but that is more or less the extent of my „animal farm”. I look with great interest at the birds, and how the parents first built their nest. When the little ones are born, they fly the whole day in and out to feed them. And when they are able to fly, they have to look after themselves. Compare that with our children, how much time we lose training them how to eat, how to walk, how to be potty-trained, how to listen, how to behave well. And we can talk to them, the birds cannot and yet the results are much better. They eat bread and seed, but they do not get fat. When they were born, there was no midwife or doctor. When they eat out of my bird box, they do not fight. They even throw bread out onto the ground as there is not enough room for all of them to fit in the box. Very social. When the big birds fly to warmer climes, they know how to fly. One takes the lead, the others follow. No accidents, no air traffic control, no GPS and you do not see a bird which is too tired and takes a rest in a garden. They do not have winter clothes, nor do they wear a cap or shawl. Look at the storks, they spend the winter in warmer regions and then return in spring to their nests. GPS? Unheard of. Then look at us - we have to learn everything. We have to learn to talk, we have to learn to listen, we have to go to school, maybe to university, and we have to look for a job. When we have to learn how to cycle, we get two extra wheels. Take another example, the dog. A male dog at first starts to pee like a female but all of a sudden he finds out that he can

do the same while lifting one of his legs. Nobody ever tells him to do that. How many times do we have to tell our boys that they should lift the toilet seat. By the way, maybe adult men should do the same, but that’s a different point. And another example, the cat. It’s not my favourite animal, but anyway. They understand (how?) that they have to use the litter box. And when they do it in the open air, they cover what they have left. Ever seen a person - in case we need to urgently relieve ourselves in the fresh air - cover it afterwards? A final example – have you ever seen ducklings swimming in their first days with armbands? I could continue with other examples but I think my message is clear. At the end of this year, we should follow suit and learn from the birds. We can live without our mobile, and without our ipod, tablet or ipad. We can live without Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and/or Facebook. We have learnt how to write a letter, how to communicate. The thesis that all these so-called social media create a better social world is - in my humble opinion - wrong. Birds eat together, but we - do not misunderstand me, neither I nor my wife - go into a restaurant and you see a family busy with their devices. You just do not see them talking to one another. And, of course, they have to take a „selfie”. In fact, they even feel disturbed when the waiter brings them their food. A good friend of mine laid down his own rules for his home. When visitors come to see him, he hands over a basket with the friendly request to put in it all mobiles, ipads and ipods. He explains that he wants a social evening. My daughter does the same. When I (the old grandfather) visit her and her family, her first remark to the three boys is: ‘Opa is here. Turn off all your devices and talk to Opa.’ When I started to live and work in Poland in 1975, I also had to travel. I left my wife with our three children and after a few days I came back home. We hadn’t had any contact, but neither my wife nor I panicked about that. Look at people at airports, restaurants, shopping malls or wherever, 80% of what they discuss by phone is almost always nonsense and totally needless. In case you want to make some excellent new resolutions for 2018, my suggestions are: 1. try to be more social, 2. limit all your messages, 3. communicate - we have a mouth to eat and to talk - with your family and friends, 4. D  o not think you are more important when you use your „social tools” all day. Follow the birds - feel free as a bird and remember that they have always had the same tools. They are happy, they chirp and fly, and don’t forget to feed them during the winter. Merry Christmas and a very Happy - quiet - New Year. The old man has spoken.

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


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

Values… Slowly but surely autumn is passing and winter is approaching. So it’s the right time of year to stay at home over the weekend, and settle down with a good book or an interesting movie. Last weekend, I watched - not for the first time - the movie ‘Ziemia Obiecana’ (The Promised Land, 1975) by the famous film director Andrzej Wajda. Readers living in Poland will definitely know the story. Set in the industrial city of Łódź at the end of the 19th century, it focuses on the experiences of three young men - a Pole, a German and a Jew - who work together to fulfil their dream of building a factory and becoming textile industry tycoons. The movie, based on the novel by Stanisław Władysław Reymont, the winner of the 1924 Nobel Prize for Literature, is mainly about values. The values of 3 young people of 3 different cultures, values about love and faith and some basic values about what we would nowadays call ‘corporate social responsibility’. My job as an urbanist brings me into contact with a lot of young, well-educated professionals from different disciplines all over the country. Whether they are economists, lawyers, historians, artists or sociologists, sooner or later our conversations almost always turn to the current political context of the country’s development. The analyses they share with me are often followed by them telling me their individual ‘back-up plans’ in case ‘things go irreversibly wrong in Poland’ in the coming years. The core of these ‘back-up plans’ mainly focuses on going abroad, into voluntary exile in another European country. It is not only my personal observation. A look at the statistics proves it is often the highest-educated part of the young Polish society, those with possibilities, who are leaving the country and going abroad. My question why they in particular, being part of the economic middle class and intellectual elite of Poland, plan to leave receives different answers: legal insecurity, lack of professional career opportunities due to a politically-corrupted work environment, being fed up with the unpolished social behaviour of people in daily life, being tired of listening to yelling politicians playing such obvious selfish games. These are just some examples. What strikes me most

is the despondency behind their words. It is obvious for my partners in conversation - part of the well-educated elite here nowadays - that the concept of ‘Poland as a free country’ is not worth fighting for. Last week, a very good business associate of mine explained why he, as an experienced professional in his mid-forties, had chosen a ‘career plan which doesn’t lead to a retirement in Poland’. ‘Over the last twenty years,’ he explained, ‘Poland may have made remarkable economic progress, but we haven’t succeeded in adapting and implementing some essential values to make it a real part of Europe. Within the current political context, we will stay for another decade in a moral twilight zone between the tribal system of the east and the democratic system of the west. The situation will continue in which cunning multinationals and businessmen will flourish, but I don’t trust it enough to invest my pension money in.’ It was those words which were whirling round my mind after I saw ‘The Promised Land’ again. Will history repeat itself? Will our current technological revolution, leading towards an economy 4.0, have the same effect that the 19th century industrial revolution brought to this country? A country run and ruled by opportunistic businessmen and parasitic politicians? When it comes to values, our European constitution speaks about ‘a community providing conditions for pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men’ (Article 1a of the European constitution, amended in 2004, the year Poland joined the Union). In particular, nowadays, technological innovations which increase the possibilities for equal access to knowledge and information offer an additional spectrum of opportunities with which to achieve these aims. However, it is not technology which decides about prosperity for all, but mankind steered by its own values. Will Poland’s new elite be strong enough to adapt and implement these values before it is too late? The answer is hanging in the air, or in this modern world, it’s probably better to say: it’s hanging in ‘the cloud’…

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

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News and Activities from the Embassy of the Netherlands A healthy cooperation At the end of September, a group of 15 Polish representatives from hospitals, companies and the government visited the Netherlands to exchange experiences in the field of hospital building, e-health and innovations in healthcare. The group visited the Erasmus Hospital, attended an international conference where Poland presented opportunities for cooperation, and

also visited the recently renovated Spaarne Hospital. At the beginning of next year, a Dutch mission will visit Poland to explore the possibilities for cooperation.

Innovations in Architecture: the vision from the Netherlands At the time of writing, the Embassy was awaiting the visit to Poland on 16-17 November of Caroline Bos, Co-founder and Principal Urban Planner of UNStudio. UNStudio specialises in architecture, interior design, product design, urban development and infrastructural projects.

During her visit, Ms. Bos will present a lecture during the Innovation Gala organised by the well-known Polish monthly architecture magazine “Architektura Murator”. In addition, alongside the City of Warsaw and several young architects, she will also participate in a session hosted by the Embassy to discuss future transport hubs with a focus on the Warsaw West Railway Station.

Dutch going circular in Poland The Embassy has been preparing a mission for companies and knowledge institutes from the Netherlands to Poland from 22-24 November to explore opportunities in the field of the circular economy, with a particular focus on waste management and waste water treatment. The Dutch companies joining the mission are: Indaver, Metabolic, Acceleratio, GI Dynamics and Groningen Seaports. In addition, the Dutch branch associations Envaqua (waste and waste water

technology) and the Netherlands Water Partnership (water technology) will be represented during the mission. The visit will provide the Dutch representatives with the opportunity to take part in matchmaking sessions organised by the NPCC, company visits, workshops and a conference about the circular economy.

”Smog Free Tower” by world-renowned Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde to freshen Kraków air Kraków, the city with the worst air pollution problem in Poland, is the next location for the incredible Smog Free Tower designed by the team from Studio Roosegaarde, a project where design meets the environment. The Smog Free Tower, designed in collaboration with ENS Technology, is a 7-metre-high tower which cleans 30,000 m3 of polluted air per hour

using no more electricity than a water boiler. The tower uses patented positive ionization technology to capture fine dust and transform it into coarse dust. The Smog Free Project was launched in Rotterdam on September 4th, 2015. At present, the Smog Free Tower is on tour in China, and thanks to the support of ING Bank and the intensive efforts of the Honorary Consul of the Netherlands in Kraków, Patrick den Bult, the tower will be exhibited in the city between January and March 2018.

Dutch government website about agriculture Did you know that alongside the Embassy’s website is a Dutch government website dedicated exclusively to agriculture? It is called and has been given a completely new layout from November! It contains the latest news with regard to Poland and other countries


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and we also publish our events, seminars and other activities and promote Dutch technology and ideas. If you want to stay up-to-date, take a look at ABB Poland.

Cultural calender December 2017 – February 2018 All through the year, there are cultural events happening all around Poland with a connection to the Netherlands: concerts, book presentations, film screenings, stage performances, exhibitions. They take place in large concerts halls and museums as well as in smaller clubs or at the embassy. Many of them are open to the public, though some are restricted and, for instance, only for students or by invitation. The cultural connections between Poland and the Netherlands are flourishing. With over 100 events a year, not only do they contribute to the

image of the Netherlands in Poland, but they also give us an opportunity to ‘Stay in touch with the rest of the Dutch’. As much as possible, the embassy collects information about these events and publishes them a couple of days beforehand on its Facebook page. However, you might be interested to hear about them a bit earlier - for personal as well as for professional reasons. It is for this reason that, in cooperation with the embassy, we present you with a selection of events taking place over the coming months.

04.12 – 17.12 / Gdańsk, Exhibition ‘Loving Vincent You have probably heard all about it. The movie ‘Loving Vincent’ is the world’s first hand-painted film, which had its premiere last October. The film is about the final years of Vincent van Gogh’s life and has already received several awards at international film festivals. What you maybe didn’t know is that the movie was made in Poland.

The exhibition ‘Loving Vincent’ will present original paintings from the movie as well as lots of other items connected to the making of the film. The exhibition can be visited in the Town Hall in Oliwa/Gdańsk.

8.12 -14.12 / Warsaw and 17 other cities in Poland and Belarus, Watch Docs - Human Rights in Film ‘WATCH DOCS - Human Rights in Film’ is one of the oldest and largest human rights film festivals in the world and could be better described as a „film and debate” festival. There are two Dutch films being shown during the festival: „EuroTrump” by Stephan Robert Morse and Nicholas Hampson, a documentary about Geert Wilders (who gave permission to be filmed for the first time). This documentary is screened in the „Want to See” section. The second movie is „I Know You Are There” by Thom Vander Beken,

a peculiar portrait of 27-year-old Quentin, who is in a coma and whose family are confronted with the decision about whether or not to continue his treatment. The film, which received the prestigious Visions du Rèel from the festival in Nyon, will be shown in the „Body Under Control” section. Please look for exact screening times and locations and information about many other interesting movies at:

2018 15.01.2018 / Kraków, (exact date not available at time of going to press), Daan Roosegaarde’s Smog Free Tower in Kraków for 12 weeks The SMOG FREE PROJECT is a series of urban innovations led by Daan Roosegaarde aimed at reducing pollution and providing an inspirational experience of a cleaner future. Daan Roosegaarde - one of the leading designers from the Netherlands - and his team of experts have created the world’s largest smog vacuum cleaner. The 7-metre (23-feet)-tall SMOG FREE TOWER uses patented positive ionization technology to produce smog free air in public spaces, allowing people to breathe and experience

clean air for free. It is equipped with environmentally-friendly technology, cleans 30,000 m3 per hour and uses no more electricity than a water boiler. The SMOG FREE TOWER provides a local solution for clean air in such places as public parks. The effect of the Smog Free Tower has been validated by results compiled by the Eindhoven University of Technology. Location (TBC) “Smocza” at Wawel!

21.02 / Warsaw, Caro Emerald concert Caroline Esmeralda van der Leeuw is a Dutch pop and jazz singer. She debuted under the stage name „Caro Emerald” in July 2009 with „Back It Up” and her follow-up single, „A Night Like This”, reached #1 in the Netherlands. Emerald is often praised for her outstanding live performances. She predominantly performs in English mixed with a little scat singing, as demonstrated in her hit „Back It Up”. Her debut album ‘Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor’ was released in August 2010, spending 30 weeks at #1 in the Dutch album

charts, an all-time record which beat Michael Jackson’s „Thriller” by one week. The album became the biggest-selling album of 2010 in the Netherlands with over 350,000 copies sold to date, and over 1.4 million copies sold worldwide. On 3 October 2010, Emerald was awarded the Dutch music prize the „Edison Award” for Best Female Artist. Tickets:

21-23.02 – Warsaw, Theater Lynx at ‘Nowe Epifanie’ Festival The New Epiphany Festival has been in existence since 2008, but has only been known by this name since 2016. The organiser of the festival is the JP2 Center- named after the Polish Pope John Paul II - an organisation which puts on several festivals and events with socially oriented themes, specifically aimed at dialogue, tolerance and a responsible society. The festival has a varied programme, including theatre performances and discussions, and therefore it does not take place on one stage, but in several locations on multiple dates. Presentation: ‚The Second World’ by Theatre Lynx is based on

documentary material from the 1970s and 1980s: interviews with informers of the secret service in the former Eastern Bloc. The artists make a comparison with the present-day situation in Europe and the past: while Anna twists and turns in various directions trying to exploit the Polish intelligence service, Monika is full of surrender for her work for the Stasi. Two women behind the iron curtain, both thinking ‘they are on the right side’.

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New members of

the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce

KG Legal Kiełtyka Gładkowski – Attorney law firm

Next Markets Advisory

KG Legal Kiełtyka Gładkowski – Attorney law firm is a Polishbased law firm specialising in cross-border cases, in particular for international clients.

Next Markets Advisory is a company with extensive experience in research and company advisory in emerging markets. Just like you, we are in there for the long haul.

Examples of some recently-managed cross-border cases: • Assisting in the cooperation between IT developers providing an internet platform for healthcare entities involved in clinical research • Intragroup transfer of shares involving seven different jurisdictions for clients operating in the food industry • Joint venture between a Swiss investor and the Polish Academy of Science to cooperate in modular construction housing (forming a R&D team), including financing based on EU funds for new innovations • Litigation of a transport dispute involving a Slovakian carrier and a Polish subcontractor (based on the CMR Convention) • Assisting the Polish subsidiary of a Dutch online stock broker in a dispute before the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection • Assisting in setting up the Polish subsidiary of a US-based IT company, including the transfer of employees and tax planning • Handling a dispute on behalf of a UK-based corporate client concerning a domain name registered in Poland • Comprehensive legal assistance in the international transportation of pharmaceuticals undertaken by a Polish biotechnology company • Enforcement of a Dutch judgement in Poland and coordinating effective bailiff enforcement, including asset tracing.

Based on our long experience, Next Markets Advisory provides companies from the Benelux countries with advice on strategic choices in order to access new markets or expand their business in their current emerging markets.

KG LEGAL Kiełtyka Gładkowski Attorney Law Firm ul. Świętej Anny 9, 31-008 Kraków +48 12 263 46 74

We focus on all countries in Central and Eastern Europe in general, but especially on Poland. Our common goal: Improving your chances of success while mitigating your risks. Our private data sources allow us to present unique data on regional and sectorial developments as well as on trade flows. We like to share our knowledge on business opportunities in emerging markets with you and in general by giving presentations at conferences, as well as preparing articles or studies. Current client activities: • Advice based on a study on labour market developments in Central and Eastern Europe • Research activity to find the best location to manufacture in Europe Next Markets Advisory +31613845807



Moving Moments issue 61


New members of

the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce

zarządzanie wierzytelnościami

Straetus Global presence, working locally! Friendly and efficient debt-recovery: get paid and keep your customers. At Straetus, our carefullytrained teams focus entirely on considerate debt collection on your behalf – making sure we collect your invoices and preserve your customers for future business. We offer a comprehensive range of debt recovery services including: Pre-legal debt collection Convincing your customers that it’s in their best interests to pay their debts quickly and voluntarily, while avoiding the need to issue legal proceedings. Court action & bailiff enforcement If necessary, Straetus has the experience and knowledge to ensure a positive outcome through expert legal action. We work with a specialised legal counsel, which employs 20 professional lawyers and cooperates with 100 bailiffs.

BMSP Boryczko, Malinowska i Partnerzy BMSP Boryczko, Malinowska i Partnerzy Law Firm, established in Warsaw in 2003, has a wealth of experience in providing legal services to entrepreneurs, including foreign companies. Our lawyers specialise in: corporate law, including mergers and acquisitions, labour law, commercial law, intellectual property law, including IT, TMT, unfair competition, consumer law and litigation. BMSP offers legal services related to the scope of our clients’ business activity, as well as other services falling outside their main area of activity.Due to the fact that our partners and lawyers are all multi-lingual, BMSP can cater for a wide range of commercial enterprises from English- and French-speaking areas. BMSP Boryczko Malinowska i Partnerzy ul. Emilii Plater 10/48 00-669 Warszawa +48 22 380 21 80

International debt recovery Straetus offers you debt recovery through its own international network in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Romania, Russia, Israel and South Africa. In other countries, we work with trusted partners to ensure the best quality of service. Credit checks Comprehensive credit check services to assess the risk of your customers or clients defaulting on payments. Invoice reminder services Focusing on professionally and politely reminding your clients about any payments due can help avoid the debt collection process entirely, while improving early payments by up to 50%. Straetus ul. Królowej Marysieńki 90 02-954 Warsaw +48 22 382 12 14

Beyond Summits “Being successful is setting yourself a goal that is beyond your current capabilities and achieving it” Beyond Summits is your guide to achieving personal or team goals. After successfully climbing Mount Everest in 2016, owner Jaco Ottink is one of the few Dutch people to have scaled all Seven Summits (the highest mountain on each continent). In addition, he also has almost twenty years’ experience in global sales in the FMCG industry. This combination makes him unique for his audience, whether in a one-to-one meeting, in front of a large crowd or together with a leadership team. The key pillars of Beyond Summits are: motivational speaking, coaching young talent, personal effectiveness (setting and achieving goals), authentic leadership, self-esteem talks at schools and re-energising teams via workshops. Beyond Summits ul. Królewska 11 05-520 Konstancin Jeziorna

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Matchmaking We help companies enter Polish and Dutch market 26

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NPCC sets up 86 Matchmaking meetings Over the past three months the NPCC has supported fifteen companies from the Netherlands with matchmaking services and connected them to some of their Polish counterparts. Several of those companies were part of a mission organised by WTC Friesland together with the NPCC. The other companies came to Warsaw as part of a trade mission on water and waste organised

The other five Dutch companies that we assisted participated in the waste and water mission organised jointly by RVO and the Embassy of the Netherlands that visited Poland from 22-24 November. Over the three days of the mission, we were able to organise 26 meetings, including with specialists from the waste management sector and representatives of large water companies and the city of Warsaw. Setting up those meetings required a full month of preparations by the chamber and all the participants of the matchmakings in Poland were extremely satisfied with the results.

by RVO (Netherlands Enterprise Organisation) and the Netherlands Embassy in Warsaw. The WTC mission consisted of 10 companies from a broad range of sectors such as healthcare, agriculture, marketing consultancy and wood production. We were able to offer them meetings in Warsaw, Poznań, Gdańsk and Łódź as well as many other smaller cities where a total of 60 prospects were visited at their own locations.

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Labour market tightness may affect Polish economy

By Rob Ruhl, Director of Next Markets Advisory and NPCC Board Member Labour market tightness is a well-known phenomenon in Western European countries. This tightness, and the local circumstances in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, attracted people to move to work predominantly in Western Europe. In the period 1999-2014 net migration amounted to 1.5% of the Polish population, while the figure for Romania was even higher at 9.2%. Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia showed net inflow figures during this period. Labour market tightness in CEE is currently causing a problem for economic growth in the Czech Republic and Hungary. The Polish situation seems to differ from its neighbours. Or is the situation in Poland blurred by typically Polish developments? How can labour market tightness be illustrated? What are the causes of labour market tightness and what can the government and companies do? The most commonly used indicator for labour market tightness is the unemployment rate. In most CEE countries, unemployment rates were almost halved in the period 2013 Q4 to 2017 Q2. In Poland, the reduction of almost 70% was spectacular compared with other CEE countries. The current unemployment rate in Poland is about 7.3% of the working-age population. According to Adam


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Czerniak of Polityka Insight, structural unemployment stands at 5.4%. These are people registered in unemployment offices who cannot find jobs because of a lack of competence, disability or unwillingness to work. If you add 1.5% to this 5.4%, due to usual employee rotation, the bottom line for the unemployment rate seems to be close to where the actual rate is. If we assume there is not much inflow in the labour market possible from those who are currently unemployed, there is not much hope the high number of vacancies will be reduced soon. A reduction in the economic growth accompanied by a lower growth rate in the number of jobs created seems to be the only way to reduce the pressure on certain segments of the labour market.

Number of vacancies, 4 qma (in thousands) (Figure 1)

The number of vacancies gives a good indication of labour market tightness. The number of vacancies refers to the number of unfilled jobs. In Figure 1, the number of vacancies is presented in 4 quarter moving averages. The Czech Republic shows the most serious increase whereas Poland shows a more moderate increase. The causes of tightening are the same for all countries, but the intensity of the 3 causes differ per country.

Transportation and storage job vacancy rate 2015 (Figure 3) substantially. A decreasing working-age population in combination

There are three reasons for tightening of the labour market: 1. D  ecrease in the working-age population - due to a decreasing birth rate and the fact that people live longer (improved healthcare, lifestyle). 2.  Positive economic development is accompanied by strong employment growth 3. Migration

Working age population 2000-2030 (2000=100) (Figure 2)

with an increase in the number of jobs offered creates tightness in the labour market. If we look at all three factors, Hungary and the Czech Republic show the tightest labour markets, followed by Poland. Labour market tightness based on the number of vacancies is concentrated in the manufacturing industry, the construction, wholesale and retail trade, transport and storage plus information and communication.

Manufacturing job vacancy rate 2015

(Figure 3)

In order to be able to explain how serious the problem of a large

Central and Eastern Europe is the region with the fastest greying of the population in the world. Figure 2 shows the development of the working-age population from 2000 to 2030. The projection to 2030 for Poland shows a decrease in the Polish working-age population of 10% compared with the number in 2000. Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Hungary show an even larger decrease. The decrease in the working-age population already includes the flow of people that have migrated to other countries in Europe. Thanks to the inflow of 2 million people from Ukraine, to fill the jobs of Poles who left their jobs in exchange for a job in Western Europe, the net figure for Poland is “only� -1.5%. Due to the positive economic growth rate, the number of jobs offered did increase

number of vacancies is, we can divide the number of vacancies by the number of vacancies plus the number of jobs filled. We call this the vacancy ratio. If we look at this vacancy ratio, the shortages are most serious in the Construction (2.4%), Information and Communication (2.2%), Transport and Logistics (1.5%), Accommodation and Food services (1.5%). The pressure seems to be somewhat less in the manufacturing industry (1.2%). See Figure 3.

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Construction job vacancy rate 2015

(Figure 3)

ongoing. In 2002, Polish workers in the business economy earned a monthly salary of 28% of Dutch workers. In 2014, this figure was already â‚Ź974 or almost 40% of the Dutch salary. If we extrapolate this development to 2026, we can expect Polish monthly earnings in the business economy to be close to 60% of the Dutch level. Has the success story in Poland come to an end? I would say the current success story is changing. The success story may have started based on cheap, relatively skilled labour and large volumes of foreign direct investments, but the Polish economy is still in transition towards higher added value production, being less labour intensive and with higher productivity. There is an increasing need for well-educated workers, while wages will continue to increase.

If we want to compare the seriousness of the number of vacancies by region, we can compare the ratio in a specific region with the ratio for the country as a whole. Huge differences between regions are now visible (see Figure 4). In the manufacturing industry, the problem of vacancies is highest in Zachodniopomorskie and Lubuskie. For the transport and logistics sector, the problem of having vacancies is two times higher in Dolnośląskie than the average in Poland. In the construction industry, Zachodniopomorskie again shows by far the highest vacancy ratio. What is the impact of labour market tightness on wages in Poland? In general, tight labour markets are linked to periods of rapidly increasing wages. Since labour market tightness is accompanied by a rapidly decreasing unemployment rate, there is increasing pressure on wages. The Czech Republic and Hungary are experiencing the biggest pressure on their labour markets. Poland shows a moderate increase in wages in general. It must be said in this comparison of wages per hour in US$ that the exchange rate plays a role as well. Looking at the average monthly earnings in the business economy since 2002, the catching-up in terms of monthly earnings is still

Average monthly earnings business economy

Labour market tightness will reduce the production capacity in certain sectors in Poland, as was seen in the Czech Republic, and may reduce profitability is some market segments. Foreign direct investments are still required. This offers Poland the fastest way to upgrade its production facilities and to introduce new technologies. At the same time, Poland will become an increasingly attractive location in which to sell products. The purchasing power of Polish customers keeps on improving and the government can play a role to mitigate the impact of the labour market development. In most countries in the world, governments ask people to work longer and they stimulate women to enter the labour market. Unfortunately, election promises made this current government decide to do the exact opposite.

Hourly wages in US$

(Figure 5)

(Figure 4)

Together with companies, the government needs to upgrade the education level and introduce in tandem with businesses some form of education tailored to the jobs of the future. Meanwhile, companies need to study the development of the working-age population in their region and also investigate what is happening in the education system. Are companies and universities in my region operating closely to make sure there will be enough skilled workers in my region? Companies need to prepare themselves for further wage increases. Labour-saving investments may be part of the new strategy to prepare for the future.


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

The Dutch Chapter and what to say about Poland On October 30 we opened the Dutch chapter of the Chamber with a conference at ING’s headquarters in Amsterdam. I was asked to give a talk entitled “Legal Developments in Poland”. It took me a while before I could come up with an approach to this subject. What should I talk about? The subjects which came to mind were the Polish court system, the changes to the Polish school system or how investments made in agricultural land, pharmacies or wind energy have suddenly become worthless. Alternatively, I thought I could focus on how the 500+ has in fact given the economy a boost, how the government does seem to be collecting more taxes, how the minimum wage has been raised to an acceptable level also for those working on so-called mandate contracts (umowa zlecenie) and about all the other changes to the law that affect businesses in their day-to-day affairs. Suddenly it dawned upon me, I should talk about both. On the one hand, this government does seem to be able to solve some long-lasting problems, but on the other hand those who regularly read the Polish press or even those who only read the foreign press and my column know that a lot of worrying changes are being implemented on a daily basis. This morning on the radio was announced that today the Sejm (the lower house of parliament) will not only discuss last-minute changes to the electoral system (before next year’s local elections), but it will also start work on the presidential draft laws on the supreme court and the National Court Council. Unfortunately, it looks like these drafts essentially do not differ from the original versions, i.e. politicians have taken control over the court system. According to the UN special rapporteur, Mr. Diego GarciaSayan, the draft law on the supreme court even includes a clause that certain people, such as the prosecutor general (i.e. the minister of justice) can reopen cases adjudicated within the past twenty years with a final judgment. That will certainly ensure some great television, but it does not sit well with the concept of a “rechtsstaat”, a country in which the rule of law is to prevail.

Most businesses will not be directly affected by the above-mentioned changes to the legal system in Poland, at least not in the near future. Therefore, I believe it is prudent to mention a few upcoming changes that will have an immediate impact on your business. 2018 will see a raft of changes to the tax law, such as special bank accounts with restricted access to receive VAT which will allow faster VAT refunds (voluntary – from April 2018), and mandatory reporting for businesses of all sizes of VAT-chargeable transactions. The latter will allow the tax office to more easily cross-reference transactions and it will be much easier to identify private expenses. There will be restrictions on the deduction of costs of intangible assets (e.g. licenses) purchased from group companies as well as an extension of thin capitalisation rules to include loans from third parties. There will also be a new special tax on commercial real estate of 0.035% per month, which in turn will be deductible from corporate income tax, i.e. it will affect those owners of real estate that have not so far reported any profits. The good news is that expenses of up to PLN 10,000 instead of PLN 3,500 will be immediately deductible from profit without the need to amortise (this is on top of special tax breaks for investments of up to PLN 100,000). So you will be able to fully deduct your iPhone X in one go. Corporate income from capital investments (e.g. dividends, copyrights etc.) will be taxed separately from business income, i.e. losses in one category cannot be off-set against profits in another (similar to personal income tax). The biggest change in non-tax related laws is the coming into force of RODO as of May 2018. This will require a complete overhaul of your personal data processing policies. The manner in which consent to process data is granted and can be withdrawn will become much more stringent. Consent will have to be active and cannot rely on silence (e.g. pre-ticked boxes). The entity processing the data will also have to make it possible to easily withdraw consent and be “forgotten”. Individuals should be allowed to review the processed data in an easily accessible format together with explanatory notes. The changes include much more stringent rules on data protection and severe penalties for breach and much more. While those who object to some of the fundamental changes that this government is introducing should continue to make themselves heard, those who run businesses should be aware of a large number of practical legal changes as well.

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

issue 61




Bulletin No. 61 Winter 2017  
Bulletin No. 61 Winter 2017  

The magazine ‘Bulletin’ is our flagship member and business partner publication. In the magazine you can read interesting articles and backg...