Bulletin no. 74 Spring 2021

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Bulletin No. 74 Spring 2021

Randstad’s Henri Viswat: “The strength of the Polish economy depends to a great extent on its employees.”

• Covid-19, a rollercoaster ride for Zielone Czyste • Offshore Wind Energy trade mission to Poland offers many opportunities


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Bulletin

Spring 2021

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NPCC

Director’s note

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Chamber Agenda Interview

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Chamber News and Events Interview

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enri Viswat, Director Randstad Professionals Poland & Director H Randstad Sourceright Poland and Eastern Europe, speaks about the impact of Covid-19 on the job market

einier Zoutenbier, Offshore Wind Business Development Manager R at Royal HaskoningDHV, shares his views on the opportunities for the offshore wind energy market in Poland as well as his opinions on the digital mission organised with the support of the NPCC

Column

Staf Beems

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Article

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News from NLinBusiness Interview

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News from our Members Platinum Sponsor Article

Henri Viswat, Randstad: “Sourcing the right talents has become more difficult than before”

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Łukasz Chodkowski, Managing Director of Déhora Polska: ‘Remote work – the new normal?’

ichał Siwek, Director of the Food and Agri International Hub M Department at BNP Paribas, on the resilience of the Polish Food and Agri sector in times of crisis

2020 sets a new record in EV sales on the Polish market

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Interview

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ddy van der Steen, owner of Zielone Czyste, shares his story E of a rollercoaster ride doing business during the pandemic

Reinier Zoutenbier, Royal HaskoningDHV: Offshore wind energy opportunities in Poland

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NPCC Test Drive

Volkswagen ID.3

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Interview with a regional member

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New Members Column

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Messages from the Embassy Column

Jakub Gładkowski, attorney and founding partner of KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI KG LEGAL: “Nationwide experience shows the great advantage of Kraków as a starting or investment location in Poland”

Huub Droogh

Michał Siwek, BNP Paribas: "An increasing number of people searching for food that is perceived as healthy"

Remco van der Kroft

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NPCC

Director’s note

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

Dear Reader, We are happy to see so many of you reading our articles

increasingly important. In 2021, we want to take our webinars

and interviews, in other words that you are interested in the

a step further and, therefore, we will be offering videocasts in

chamber’s activities. We have also received many positive

conjunction with the Netherlands Embassy, broadcast from the

remarks about the new design that the team has put together.

studios of 24/7 Communications.

We are happy that it is being appreciated. These videocasts, which you can either watch live or download 2021 is the year when we will hopefully all return to ‘some form

to view later, will offer a varied programme with interactive

of’ normal. It’s our intention to start setting up face-to-face

interviews where you can ask your own questions. This

meetings again for our members, but until we are able to do

innovative programme will also tap into a larger audience that

that, we will continue to serve you with our innovative online

you will be able to interact with as well.

meetings. Our calendar for the year also includes events that we In 2019, we initiated a new strategy that can best be

organise together with other international chambers in Poland

summarised as follows: ‘Become more relevant to our members

as part of the IGCC. In addition, there are also details about the

by sharing knowledge and information.’ We kept this as our

activities we run together with NLinBusiness, the hub network

starting point when setting up our annual calendar for 2021.

in the Netherlands that keeps us connected to Dutch hubs in

Obviously, we will further build our Knowledge Groups, the

other countries. In this magazine, you can find their own page

meetings with specialists on a selection of topics.

with all their latest news and read about what they are up to this year.

We successfully initiated Knowledge Groups on HR, Agro and Sustainability in 2020, and the members of these groups are

Those are just a few of the highlights worth mentioning.

now meeting 4 times a year and sharing knowledge or receiving

To see our full calendar, please visit our website. Remember

valuable information from external speakers.

that as soon as we are allowed, we will return to offline meetings, including organising our annual flagship event,

We have already seen lively discussions within these groups,

the Orange Ball.

as well as the exchange of interesting data such as exclusive market reports. We believe that these groups offer a lot more

Lastly, I just want to wish you good health and keep going,

value to your membership.

we are very much looking forward to seeing you at one of our events, whether it is online or face-to-face.

In 2021, we are in the process of setting up additional Knowledge Groups on IT, Transport and Legal/Tax/Accounting.

Are we getting it right?

Please send us an email if you think you qualify for one of those

Let me know at e.vandenburg@nlchamber.com.pl

groups and would like to participate. Elro van den Burg We have also noticed that it is not just the content we offer, but

Managing Director of the Netherlands-Polish

also the way in which that content is presented that is becoming

Chamber of Commerce

Bulletin is the quarterly magazine of the Netherlands-Polish 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

Our platinum sponsors

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Managing Editor: Anna Zadrożna Columnists: Huub Droogh Staf Beems Remco van der Kroft

Photos: Elro van den Burg Milena Zychowicz Krzysztof Dubiel Netherlands Embassy in Poland Advertisement management: NPCC Contact: www.npcc.pl office@npcc.pl +48 22 419 54 44


Activities of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce

Chamber Agenda

The highest priority of the NPCC is the health and safety of our members. Therefore, in the best interest of our members and our community, the Chamber has decided to limit all offline events to a minimum. In 2021 we expect to slowly start organising offline events again, whenever it is possible.

8 March 2021

International Women Day Woman’s career in times of crisis Online More info will be announced via our website

April 2021

TSL Webinar with Santander Online webinar on Transport, Spedition, Logistics Online More info will be announced via our website

17 March 2021

Meet our regional Board Member in Cracow Bimonthly informal meeting for all regional members in a specific region to meet NPCC's regional Board Member Online More info will be announced via our website

13 May 2021

Meet our regional Board Member Bimonthly informal meeting for all regional members in a specific region to meet NPCC's regional Board Member Online More info will be announced via our website

18 March 2021

Agriculture Knowledge Circle We are inviting new community members from this sector to participate More info will be sent out directly to members of the community

19 May 2021

HR Knowledge Circle We are inviting our members to become community members Online More info will be sent out directly to members of the community

25 March 2021

NPCC Business Matters Monthly online interviews and news program from the studios of 24/7 Communication Video Podcast More info will be announced via our website, the link will follow after the registration

26 May 2021

Sustainability Knowledge Circle only for community members We are inviting our members to become community members Online More info will be sent out directly to members of the community

30 March 2021

The global impact of the Dutch elections Online event organised by our partner NLinBusiness More info will be announced via our website

27 May 2021

NPCC Business Matters Monthly online interviews and news program from the studios of 24/7 Communication Video Podcast More info will be announced via our website, the link will follow after the registration

6 April 2021

Online Business Drink Online meeting for our members, possibility of networking in break-out rooms Online More info will be announced via our website

8 June 2021

BBQ Business Drink If the situation allows, we will meet you in person on our outside BBQ Business Drink More info will be announced via our website

15 April 2021

New members consult Bimonthly meeting for new members to discuss issues and meet other members Online More info will be announced via our website

10 June 2021

New members consult Bimonthly meeting for new members to discuss issues and meet other members More info will be announced via our website

29 April 2021

NPCC Business Matters Monthly online interviews and news program from the studios of 24/7 Communication Video Podcast More info will be announced via our website, the link will follow after the registration

16 June 2021

Agriculture Knowledge Circle We are inviting our members to become community members Online More info will be sent out directly to members of the community

Please go to our new NPCC website: www.npcc.pl for the latest information on our events 5


Interview

Henri Viswat Director Randstad Professionals Poland & Director Randstad Sourceright Poland and Eastern Europe

Despite Covid-19, we still see great interest in Poland among foreign investors

Covid-19 changed the face of recruiting overnight. How has this global health crisis changed hiring, and how will talent acquisition recover when this is all over? We asked Henri Viswat, Director Randstad Professionals Poland & Director Randstad Sourceright Poland and Eastern Europe, how they are dealing with these challenges. as the director of the Professionals team, which from the very beginning was an important part of Randstad's operations in Poland. On the one hand, it was as a response to the increasing demand of local companies and global corporations for highly qualified professionals related to the development of technology and the scope of operations. The scale of interest in the Polish market on the part of foreign investors also had a significant impact. On the other hand, our team of qualified recruiters also supports well-educated and experienced candidates in discovering their full potential and building a successful career path. Due to technological and digital changes, we specialise in our activities in IT, financial, accounting and engineering positions, and we work with partners from a dynamically developing sector of the Polish economy – SSC/BPO. I am also responsible for the activities of Randstad Sourceright in Poland, which specialises in recruitment process outsourcing. Our talent advisors use their deep market experience, analytical insights and expertise in the latest practices and technologies to help organisations to cross traditional talent boundaries and make a measurable business impact.” Can you tell us a little about yourself and your role within Randstad? Henri Viswat: “I have been responsible for the dynamically developing Professionals business line of Randstad in Poland since 2018, which focuses on the recruitment of highly qualified specialists and managers. I joined Randstad nearly 20 years ago, leading teams recruiting specialists and temporary workers in the Netherlands. I was cooperating with large organisations from the banking and insurance sector, the public sector and the hospitality industry. I moved to Poland three years ago, joining

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Since early 2020, Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the Polish market. Can you describe what has changed in your office and how you work differently with your team? “Covid-19 has undoubtedly influenced the way companies work in Poland. As this was an unprecedented situation for employers, in many workplaces the solutions were introduced on an ongoing basis in response to government recommendations. As Randstad operates globally, the company was able to develop and implement recommendations for action quickly,


based on the global experience. Even before the first cases of Covid-19 reached Poland, an internal team was established. From the very beginning, the specialists involved in that team's work analysed, and they still continue to analyse, the epidemic situation in the country, the recommendations and government regulations, the solutions implemented in Poland and around the world, the best practices and research into the functioning of workplaces during the Covid-19 pandemic. Randstad, together with other HR companies, as well as with the World Employment Confederation, analysed Covid-19 solutions in many European countries and in numerous sectors, creating a set of ready-made recommendations for companies to follow. We also organised webinars for employers in Poland, where we presented solutions used in Poland and around the world. Through Randstad, over five hundred companies had the opportunity to get to know more about them. Our research shows that during the first wave of the pandemic, one in two Polish employers had to equip their workplace with additional cleaning agents and disinfectants. Four out of ten employers recommended remote working and limited direct customer service. Some of these solutions have also been used in our offices. We placed an even greater emphasis on the digital means of communication that were already in use in the company. That’s why it was easy for us to offer candidates online interviews. We also use a similar form of contact in relations with our clients. Some of our teams work remotely, and our offices are suitably equipped with the appropriate safety measures. But these are not the only changes. We also noticed that this unusual situation that we all faced could have an adverse effect on our employees. That is why we offered them psychological support, regularly organising meetings where we could talk about both professional and private matters. These meetings have replaced conversations around the coffee machine in the office kitchen and they help to counteract the disadvantages of isolation and the limited number of interactions between team members. We also regularly carry out employee surveys in which we measure the impact of these factors on our team members. We also see the huge role played by internal communication and use this channel as a platform for open dialogue on the company's activities in the current situation.”

we can provide our partners with valuable information that allows for safer and more careful planning of future activities in the area of employment. We also notice that currently, even more than before, companies are looking for cost optimisation. This does not affect their demand for qualified specialists because, according to the employers we work with, the effectiveness of a company's recovery will depend on the qualifications of their teams. Rather, it means the efficiency of the processes and the pursuit of an even better selection of talents, which ensures that their teams receive the right employees with the appropriate qualifications. During my meetings with our clients, talent acquisition at a time when traditional methods are not possible due to the pandemic has also become one of the most important topics. Sourcing the right talents, job interviews and skills validation have become more difficult than before. That is why cooperation with an HR partner who has the appropriate tools and experience in HR technologies is gaining importance. In our case, our implementation of the newest solutions long before the pandemic took hold has made us fully ready to conduct recruitment processes entirely in the virtual space, even if our partner has a huge demand for specialists due to new investments in Poland.” Can you tell us more about the macro data of the employment market. How do you see the market developing in the coming months? “Unemployment increased visibly last spring as a result of the first wave of Covid-19 and the almost full lockdown of large parts of the Polish economy. However, despite the impact of the pandemic, Poland was still among the European leaders in terms of the employment level. The concerns of employers and employees were calmed after the first wave by the unfreezing of individual sectors, as well as the government support offered to employers. As a result we see that the unemployment rate in Poland has remained stable since the end of the summer holidays, with only slight fluctuations in December 2020.” Can you tell us more about what is behind this?

Can you explain how your clients are dealing with the pandemic? What is shifting and what do you notice has changed when you are in contact with them? “When I talked to our clients during the first stage of the pandemic, they pointed out that there was a great need to support employers in this unprecedented situation. The pandemic has increased market uncertainty, which is why data about the situation on the labour market is so needed. The data generally available, prepared by the Central Statistical Office, for example, is published with a long delay and in the current dynamic reality quickly becomes outdated. Therefore, as part of our cooperation with companies, we provide them with something more than our services; we also share our analyses, knowledge and detailed data about the situation on the labour market from our own research and experiences. Since we are leaders on the Polish HR market, we work with many industries and know the specific situation in individual sectors. That is why

“The support for the Polish economy offered during the first lockdown and the dependence of government aid on maintaining jobs were not without significance. Employers' activities in the area of employment were also influenced by the experience of the situation on the labour market in previous years. In Poland, recruiting talented employees was an increasing challenge. Bearing this in mind and knowing that the recovery of companies requires the engagement of qualified teams, companies, despite the difficulties, generally decided to leave employment at an unchanged level. Randstad’s latest research shows that employers in Poland are even more likely to declare the creation of new jobs rather than a reduction in employment, which may soothe employees' concerns. However, it all depends on the still uncertain economic situation in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. We should also remember that we collected employers' declarations in December 2020, when there was a degree of enthusiasm related to the vaccination programme.

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Today, we already know that the vaccination process may take longer than originally thought, and this may still affect decisions about the future of companies.” For companies that want to start doing business in Central Europe, and are considering Poland versus other countries from the perspective of the job market, can you tell us how Poland is positioned in the CEE region? “The strength of the Polish economy depends to a great extent on Polish employees. Their qualifications have an overwhelming influence on the decisions of foreign investors to locate investments in Poland. In fact, on the one hand, there is a high percentage of university graduates in Poland. They are highly qualified specialists, often with extensive professional experience, who also speak English at a good level, as well as other, not only European, languages. At the same time, the quality of education at Polish technical universities is highly appreciated. Engineers and IT specialists are highly valued and often employed in international company structures. The availability of qualified candidates on the labour market also remains high in Poland. In recent years, it has been a bit more difficult to find specialists in the larger cities, but they are still available in smaller ones, especially academic centres. Those cities are now increasingly effective in attracting foreign investors. Poland's attractiveness is also influenced by the dynamically improving infrastructure of the country, including the emerging motorways and expressways and the railway network that is undergoing modernisation. Poland is one of the largest consumer markets in the European Union, which is also important for locating investments. In recent years, domestic demand has been the factor that has been the greatest driver of the Polish economy.” Can you describe the main trends in employer branding during Covid-19? What do employees expect from their employers and how has this changed compared to precorona times? “For a number of years now, our Randstad Employer Brand Research has shown that the most important driver influencing the perception of employer brand attractiveness is salary. Recently, though, professional development and the work-life balance have also gained in importance. Although the situation related to the Covid-19 pandemic is unprecedented in recent history, our experience during the economic crisis at the turn of the previous decade allows us to assume that factors related to job security and the employer’s financial health will be at the forefront of people’s minds.” The current situation is also a source of many new initiatives, and it offers opportunities that would not have occurred under normal circumstances. Is this

something that was researched by Randstad as well, and what are the results? “How the current situation is influencing changes in the way companies operate, and how it is accelerating trends already visible before the pandemic, can be clearly seen by analysing a study on remote working during the pandemic that was carried out by Gumtree in collaboration with Randstad experts. Before the pandemic, one in two Polish white-collar employees worked remotely, but in most cases, these were single days a month and only in exceptional circumstances. Today, three-quarters of employees in this group work like this. And the same number of respondents would like to have such a possibility after the pandemic as well. The fact that a large number of Poles have moved online will have a significant impact on the acceleration of digital changes. It will certainly stimulate the further development of solutions in the fields of artificial intelligence, automation and machine learning. Research shows that participants are willing to actively adapt to changes in the labour market. 60% of the respondents are, due to automation, ready and willing to reskill. However, we are aware that an effective reskilling process doesn’t only depend on employees and their openness and actions taken by them. It goes without saying that employers also have a dominant role in the reskilling of their workforce. That is why we are actively working to involve these other participants in this process – namely, employers and government institutions. We also work with universities and vocational schools to adjust the education system to the needs of the future labour market. Thanks to the solutions we have developed, and Randstad's global experience, we help companies adapt to technological changes, supporting the processes of reskilling and upskilling talents in organisations.” We also hear a lot about companies from Western Europe shortening supply lines and moving production from Asia to Central Europe. Do you recognise this trend and how fast is it materialising? “Despite the pandemic situation, we still see great interest in Poland among foreign investors. Just in the last few weeks, we have had a lot of information about large new investments and signals about the increased involvement of companies in Poland. The fDi Intelligence report shows that in the first half of 2020, Poland was one of the few European countries in which the number of foreign direct investments increased, with the number of projects increasing by nearly 14% year-on-year. At the same time, the global number of foreign direct investments decreased by 45%. One of the many reasons for this interest in Poland is the high qualifications of employees, including the high level of knowledge of foreign languages, as well as their still relatively high availability and willingness to take up new employment. So overall we see a lot of positive signals for the Polish economy for the short and mid-term.”

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Chamber

News and Events

New concept - Business Matters Live

In a series of 8 video podcasts broadcast live from the studio of 24/7 Communication in Warsaw, the hosts will discuss topics connected with doing business in Poland with various entrepreneurs and specialists The series, with each episode lasting 45 minutes, will keep you fully up-to-date on a wide range of topics, including the macro economy and the business climate in the country. Hosts of the podcast, which is supported by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Poland and 24/7 Communication, are Sanne Kaasjager and Elro van den Burg. The first ‘Business Matters Live’ podcast contained an interview with Jeroen Tiel, MD of Randstad Poland and Central Europe, on the recent changes on the labour market. There was also a discussion with economist Rafał Benecki from ING Bank Śląski on why Poles are more resilient than other nations in times of crisis, and finally we also talked to entrepreneur Marc Benning from Euroser Polska about doing business in Poland in current times. Once the podcast has been broadcast, each episode will be available online on the NPCC’s YouTube page. Alternatively,

if you watch the programme live, you will be able to react and interact with the guests in real time. The link for the podcast can be requested at office@npcc.pl

NPCC supports Prometeusz Foundation As every year, the chamber continues to get involved in sharing the Christmas spirit and supporting those in need. On this occasion, the chamber was supported by John Borrell, who generously donated 20 copies of his book “The White Lake”, a story about the hardships encountered by a foreigner when setting up a business in Poland and the beautiful location of Kania Lodge. To take full advantage of this opportunity, we decided to sell these books in order to raise money for the Prometeusz Foundation for Seniors. This is a foundation that aims to provide assistance and advice to the elderly, the poor, the sick, the lonely and the homeless, all those seniors who have been treated by fate most cruelly. In total, we were able to raise and donate a sum of almost 1,000 PLN for the charity. We also held a prize draw where one lucky buyer won a voucher for a weekend stay at the marvellous Kania Lodge. e still have a few copies of the book left, so you can always contact us and support the foundation over the course of the year if you so wish. We would like to thank all the kind and generous people who helped to make this Christmas time special for so many of those in need.

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Digital Matchmaking Mission to Poland Offshore wind industry booming in Poland

On 10 and 11 December 2020, the Dutch government, in conjunction with the Dutch wind energy industry association NWEA, organised a virtual trade mission to Poland on the topic of offshore wind energy, under the leadership of Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. In total, 65 companies from the Netherlands participated in the online mission to Poland. The NPCC organised matchmaking sessions for 25 Dutch participants of the mission, setting up a total of 192 tailor-made meetings for them with their Polish counterparts. Today, Poland doesn’t yet have any offshore wind farms, but the recently passed Offshore Wind Act has awarded about 32 billion zlotys in support for the construction of 10.9 GW of capacity in the Baltic Sea. Poland has identified offshore wind as one of the key technologies to meet its goals for renewable energy for 2030 and significantly reduce CO2 emissions. These very significant investments will also stimulate the development of the steel and shipbuilding industries and act as a driver of economic growth post-2020. The trade mission was aimed at exploring Polish market opportunities for companies from both the Netherlands and from Poland. The first part of the online mission took place in the form of a webinar on 10 December. Dutch companies were informed about the plans of the Polish government and private sector for the large-scale development of offshore wind, the expected subsidy schemes, the most important Polish players and how best to respond to this as a Dutch entrepreneur. Cultural aspects and practical tips for doing business in Poland were also discussed. The next day, the NPCC had set up matchmaking for the Dutch companies (one-to-one appointments with potential Polish business

partners) on the b2match platform, which also offered possibilities for participants to set up their own meetings. In the months prior to the mission, the NPCC had prepared these individual meetings and managed to convince most of the large players from the industry to participate. In total, 192 matchmaking meetings took place on the b2match platform. For many participants, the matchmaking was an interesting introduction to the market and a very successful virtual trip to Poland, while for the NPCC this was another opportunity to support Dutch companies with their first or further steps in the Polish market.

Online meeting – Lower Silesia 2021 On 8 February, the NPCC and nine other bilateral chambers of commerce invited their members to join a webinar with the Deputy Voivode of Lower Silesia, Bogusław Szpytma, the Deputy Mayor of Wrocław, Jakub Mazur, and the Deputy Mayor of Lower Silesia, Grzegorz Maćko. This was an excellent opportunity to talk about both the upcoming challenges and opportunities for the area with highlevel representatives from the region. The first topics discussed included the impact of Covid-19 on the region and the current handling of the situation. Later, the discussion turned to the economic situation of the region, the Lower Silesian Innovation Strategy, the most important current projects of the city of Wrocław and the economic impact of Brexit on Lower Silesia. Participants also had the chance to raise their own questions, which made the meeting a highly interesting and informative event.

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Interview

Reinier Zoutenbier Offshore Wind Business Development Manager at Royal HaskoningDHV

Polish wind energy opportunities among “the most exciting in the world” Bulletin talked to Reinier Zoutenbier, Offshore Wind Business Development Manager at Royal HaskoningDHV, who participated in last December’s digital mission from the Netherlands to Poland on offshore wind energy. developed. As a nation, Poland is actually very well placed to do this, having, for example, a strong heritage in the steel industry and the supply of steel products. There are also big opportunities for the Polish people. This upand-coming new industry will have a high demand for a qualified workforce, providing job security in an industry that will continue to develop for decades. It will offer opportunities for young people who are just starting their secondary and higher education, as well as existing workers in other industries who can retrain. Moreover, it is often forgotten that it is not only in construction that new jobs are created, but also in the operational and maintenance phase with engineers, technicians, control systems developers and other skilled professions being required.

Could you explain, in your opinion, how big the opportunities are in the offshore industry in Poland in the coming years? Reinier Zoutenbier: “The Polish market is currently one of the most exciting opportunities for significant offshore wind development in the world. The government has set a target of 11 GW of consented offshore wind by 2030 and has committed to support the award of up to 5.9 GW of projects this year, followed by auctions for 2.5 GW in 2025 and 2027. Considering that Poland to date has no fully consented or operational offshore wind farms, this will require vast investment not just from the Polish government but also from international offshore wind developers. The Polish government has made this possible by offering financial support for 25 years to offshore wind projects, thus making the Polish offshore wind market one of the most attractive places for the development of offshore wind in the world. International offshore wind developers are now racing to be part of this energy boom. The opportunity and challenge for Poland is to ensure that through the development of the offshore wind industry, a whole new set of support industries can be

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An important insight from mature markets such as the UK is also that opportunities aren’t exclusively in the direct offshore wind consenting and construction sectors. For Poland to be as selfsufficient as possible, and to keep as much of the supply chain in-country as possible, there will be a requirement to develop a wide range of other sectors. For example, ports will require upgrading to be suitable for the extremely heavy loads and as operation and maintenance bases. More space for storage will be required and the ports will need to be able to load and unload components of the offshore wind farm efficiently onto construction vessels. Opportunities will also emerge for the health and safety industry, and all developments (both onshore and offshore elements) will require ecological, and other, surveys to support developments. As a final point, for all of Poland to benefit from the development of offshore wind, the transmission grid will need to be upgraded and expanded in order to transport the power generated in the north to the centre and south of the country. Upgrading the grid will provide further employment and economic opportunities. In summary, offshore wind will provide opportunities across a number of business sectors both on- and offshore.”


And where in this market do you see the opportunities for Royal HaskoningDHV? “As a company, Royal HaskoningDHV is very excited, as am I personally, about our offshore wind experts working with our local Warsaw team in supporting the burgeoning offshore wind industry. Royal HaskoningDHV has a well-established track record of providing consenting and engineering support to our offshore wind clients. Our support during an offshore wind development project starts at the earliest phases of site selection, through the consenting and construction process, all the way to operation and maintenance. My first opportunity to work on offshore wind in Poland was in 2018 and I have since established a great working relationship with my colleagues in Warsaw. We now have a thriving knowledge exchange partnership between our Dutch, UK and Polish offices. One of the key strengths of Royal HaskoningDHV is our large in-house renewables-focused consultancy team, which has extensive experience in mature markets and with differing foundation types, cable routes and environmental and technical constraints to overcome. This experience and expertise is brought together with our colleagues in Poland, enabling us to bring experiences learned elsewhere to bear alongside an understanding of specific Polish issues.” How do you look back on the digital mission on offshore wind energy in Poland in December 2020? “The digital trade mission was a very positive experience. As I’m sure everyone that attended will agree, it was a shame that we weren’t able to physically visit Poland but the way the event was set up still made it easy to engage with the other participants throughout both days. The wide-ranging attendees with varying interests in the offshore wind industry helped to make the trade mission a well-rounded event. Since I started working in the Polish offshore wind industry, I’ve been able to build up a network of contacts and the trade mission allowed me to further expand this, and reignite contact with many others. Both the new connections made, and also re-engaging with existing contacts over the course of the two days, made for a great experience and I am keen to continue exploring new opportunities with new partners and clients in Poland on behalf of Royal HaskoningDHV. On a personal note, from someone that doesn’t regularly attend digital events or conferences, it was a very easy process from seeing the advertisement through to actual attendance. The support provided by the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce was great throughout and it definitely helped in achieving our aims for the trade mission.” During the mission, what did you learn about the market that you didn’t know before? “Having a wide range of interested parties all in one place was very useful. Whilst we follow the Polish offshore wind market very carefully, and have a good knowledge of it through the work we

do, it was useful to get an update from both developers and the government on the rapidly developing market. With so much knowledge available at a single event, we were able to confirm a lot of our pre-existing knowledge such as updated timelines on the (at the time draft) Renewable Energy Act, which provided more understanding about why decisions are being made. What we really learnt from the trade mission was how much Poland is ready for the offshore wind industry to really take off with companies across a wide spectrum chomping at the bit to get going. The matchmaking meetings on the Friday provided a great opportunity to meet new people in organisations we already work with, and also to speak to other interested parties such as financial institutions. It was good to learn that we share the same views on market opportunities as others from a range of professions. Meeting other consultancies and investigating opportunities to work together in Poland was also very beneficial.” Poland has a strong preference to work with so-called ‘local content’. Does that make it more difficult for your company to get involved in offshore wind energy in Poland? “The short answer is no, absolutely not. We have an existing team of approximately 100 people in our Warsaw office, which was set up in 1951. HaskoningDHV Polska has a strong reputation and a long heritage in undertaking engineering and consultancy work on large infrastructure projects, including in the energy sector. As I just mentioned, we have been able to build a thriving partnership based on knowledge-sharing between our Polish, Dutch and UK teams. Our Warsaw office benefits from being diverse enough to include a wide range of skillsets, such as licensed engineers and highly experienced project managers that would be ideally suited to taking on any number of roles within the offshore wind market. Other skills within our Polish team include qualified project managers and staff able to manage permitting and licensing aspects.” When we look at the product offer of HaskoningDHV on the Polish market, do you have a different approach in Poland compared to the other markets that you are operating in? “The services Royal HaskoningDHV can offer to the Polish offshore wind market don’t really differ to any other offshore wind market. Whichever way you look at it, an offshore wind farm consists of the same components wherever you build it. We know there will be a requirement to adapt to the Polish regulatory system and ways of working, but having an office in Warsaw with staff experienced in energy schemes gives us a distinct advantage. At the end of the day, the high-quality work we offer stays the same: the due diligence, Environmental Impact Assessment, Habitat Regulations Assessment, engineering, design, port development and strategic advice.”

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Column

More And More And More... I am writing this column on Monday February 8th. There is snow in Poland, snow in Holland, snow everywhere. And what’s more, it’s still Corona Time. Stay at home and use your home office. That’s the Dutch government’s advice. But for whom? Not for the average Dutchman, I’m afraid. If you hope to influence Dutch people by giving advice, you don’t live in the realistic Dutch world.

Staf Beems

Entrepreneur and owner of Silesia Consulting

The average Dutchman does not like to follow advice or arguments. Take the speed limit on motorways as an example. I recently spent two weeks in Holland, and what did I see? At 6 o’clock in the morning, there was one long line of private cars on the motorway. In the Hague at the same time, it was the same picture. Cars, cars and more cars. I also read the traffic news that morning . As far as I could work out, there were over 1,000 kilometres of cars which were either not moving, or they couldn’t move. To remind you: stay at home, work from your home office. That is what the government wants you to do. But the average employee/employer makes their own rules and they don’t care what the government expects from them. That’s enough of an introduction. Let me come now to the real subject of this column. I recently read an interview with Vaclav Smil. He was born in the Czech Republic but left his homeland many years ago and moved to Canada, where he is now a respected academic. He has written several books but his last one is a real eye-opener: "Numbers Don’t Lie". At the end of this column, I will come back to the details of his message as I think it would help us to realise the kind of world we live in. Since Covid came and surprised us, I have had some extra time to think about the world I live in. Smil is the same age as me, 77 years old, and I feel comfortable reading his views on today’s world. During this Covid pandemic, we can see that the economy is in trouble. That families do not like home office. That we are unhappy we cannot go on holiday. That we cannot go to the pub. That we cannot visit our parents and we cannot party. I could go on...

But don’t forget that quarantine is nothing new. We have given it another name and accepted it.

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Our parents had a five-year war, they couldn’t move and food was not always available, etc. People in Berlin lived on an "island". I worked and lived in Nigeria during the Biafran war for two years and we were not allowed to move outside the capital, Lagos. Living at Terschelling – was that a tragedy? And then – compare it to today – do I or my children suffer from trauma because I couldn’t talk to my parents or because my children missed their grandparents? We wrote letters and that was enough. Did my generation have frustrations that we had no TV. We had the radio and radio plays. When TV came, we had a stage play once a week. And we had a family life with our children. We played in the street, and we even cleaned the street when there was snow – for ourselves and for our neighbours. In other words, do not exaggerate the present situation. Is it too much to give your children some extra attention during lockdown? You had your children, and it is your – not the government’s or the world’s – responsibility to bring them up. School is an extra help but at the end of the day, We/You are responsible. Why do we always want more and more and more (help from others)? Be happy with what you have, be happy with your health, but be aware that it is a gift. You do not live in a refugee camp.

We want to think "green" (a terribly fashionable word to show that we support the environment) but let’s start by exporting less. Green sounds so social. Do we really need electric bikes? Again, we want more and more and more, but why?

I am not an idealist, but a realist. Coronavirus has helped me to accept that enough is enough. To finish this column, here is a short enumeration of Vaslav Smil's main remarks, suggestions and proposals. 1. Growth (call it having more and more) has become an obsession in the modern world. 2. We need 1 billion tonnes of steel in the world, whether we like it or not. The iron/steel has to come out of mines. It has to be melted in furnaces, and the furnaces have to be heated by coke, which comes from coal. Who talks about making steel and being green? 3. We live in a system in which we expect more and more. That is completely unreasonable and unrealistic as the world cannot support it. 4. All children should be vaccinated to prevent them from dying. Forget coronavirus for Africa. 5. People should have enough food not to die of hunger. 6. Does a family really need four cars and a TV in every bedroom? 7. Before you buy an item, consider whether it’s really necessary or if it is, in fact, useless. 8. Many of us like to travel for the weekend to Rome, Madrid or Paris. Is it necessary? 9. Decide for yourself what you could reduce that will not "hurt" you. 10. Trump spoke a lot of nonsense, but what is wrong with having Dutch products for Dutch people and Polish products for Polish people? Holland and Poland first, that would help.

“Be happy with what you have”

A good friend of mine, who has no financial problems at all, once told me: ‘Staf, listen, I have money, I can buy whatever I like but I cannot eat more sandwiches. I can drink whisky, and I can drink Black Label instead of Red Label, but I will not drink more. I can buy more watches but for what? I can buy a nice car but why do I need more cars?’ Why do companies want to grow and grow? To make more money for management? Do we really think that multinationals want to expand in Central Europe and/or Africa to feed the local population? Do you really think that the farmers in Holland are happy that their dairy cooperative is active in China or Africa? Why do we export beer when the locals can make their own beer as well? Why do we buy French camembert and not the excellent one from the Turek dairy?

Maybe Covid could help us to realise that we live in a spoiled world. s.beems @silesiaconsulting.com

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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Article

Remote work – the new normal? Łukasz Chodkowski, Managing Director, Déhora Polska

When analysing the current situation on the labour market, it’s worth checking the predictions we made back in April regarding the HR challenges ahead. At that time, we said that the most important one would be to provide employees with the feeling that standards of physical safety were being taken seriously. And indeed, that was initially a priority for employers. But what about ensuring mental health support? In the first phase of the pandemic, it was also important to clearly define how companies would support the financial security of their employees through the difficult times of the near future; other employee issues were relegated to the background. How is it today? The safety culture of workplaces in connection with the coronavirus epidemic currently requires consistent communication from the organisation, employer-employee cooperation, trust in direct superiors and joint responsibility. Employers must provide better support to employees who may be suffering from mental health issues exacerbated this year by the lockdown, forced remote working and a lack of contact with other employees. The pandemic has dramatically changed the way people work, and had a profound impact on their mental health. Even before Covid-19, employers began to recognise mental health as a growing problem in the workplace; now it is likely to get worse over the next few years. The blurring of the fine line between professional duties and one’s private life is very dangerous and has a big effect not only the employees themselves, but also their immediate environment, and thus their professional performance. Many people believe that the perfect cure for burnout is changing jobs – but in the current situation, the problem of that blurred border will not necessarily disappear with a change of job. How are Polish employers coping with remote work nowadays?

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Together with the DGTL Law Firm, we have carried out a unique research project during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many phenomena that seemed obvious to us were confirmed by the answers to the questionnaire, but many others were also surprising. As an example, there is the fact that 60% of the respondents – representatives of HR departments – did not monitor the remote work of their employees. It is also surprising that only 22% decided to reduce working hours, and 32% changed the schedule of the working time itself. On the other hand, as many as 62% of respondents declared that the pandemic will make it necessary to adjust their long-term human resource management strategy to the new economic situation. A review of internal HR regulations is planned by 60% of respondents over the next six months, and 18% over the next twelve months. Our project proves that HR departments have matured and consciously faced one of the greatest challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, flexibly approaching the challenges of remote work. Social cohesion and trust are key ingredients in creating a productive workforce, but there will be a number of additional circumstances that will put pressure on them in the coming weeks and months. Leaders will need to establish a new governance framework to drive positive changes in workplaces, especially intangible ones, otherwise they risk losing momentum. It seems that a return to the past, and the current work system as we know it, is impossible to implement. Remote work combined with an office system, or work in manufacturing production in a system of separate and independent teams, with a consistent employment policy with transparent rules of the system and the working time itself, as well as an honest method of employee evaluation – that is the future of the labour market and the economy.


NL.IN.BUSINESS Global Impact of the Dutch Elections – Global Event – March 30 Join us for the keynote speech by Ingrid Thijssen, president of VNO-NCW, who will reflect on the election results and the likely impact on doing business internationally. The speech will be followed by a panel discussion with experts such as Cees Westera, Managing Partner at Public Matters, moderator Stefan Wijers, and many others who will shine a light on the election outcome from their own different perspectives.

The Netherlands is a country with a strong focus on export. The outcome of the upcoming Dutch elections on 17 March will is sure to have a significant impact on international business activities, which is why we are pleased to invite you to a webinar entitled Global Impact of the Dutch Elections on 30 March from 14:00-15:00 CET.

Organising Partners This event is an initiative of international chambers of commerce in the Netherlands, NLinBusiness and the NL Business Hub

network. In total, we represent over 40 organisations active in Dutch bilateral trade in the Netherlands and abroad.

NL Business Hub Network – Update Destination Europe – Official Opening of Business Hub in France On 28 January, the Netherlands Business Council France (NLBC) opened its doors. With Anouk Zoet installed as Business Director, the organisation now forms a link between companies and organisations both in the Netherlands and in France. The NLBC is a vibrant member organisation, accessible to all, where entrepreneurs, SMEs, multinationals and managers can network, learn, revolutionise and grow – a link between doing business in the Netherlands and France, public institutions and private entities, as well as national and regional markets in France. The NLBC is a non-profit partner of the Dutch Embassy, assisting Dutch companies in the French market.

Want to learn more? Please visit: https://nlinbusiness.com/service-providers/netherlandsbusiness-council-france Would you like to know more about the network of NL Business Hubs? For further information on our network, please visit www.nlinbusiness.com

Contact us Do you want to know more about NLinBusiness and/or doing business in Poland? For more information about our platform, visit www.nlinbusiness. com or get in touch with one of the International Business Managers at NLinBusiness.

Annemarie Dijkman annemarie@nlinbusiness.com

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Interview

Michał Siwek Director of the Food and Agri International Hub Department at BNP Paribas

Food and Agri: Poland is narrowing the production gap with the EU-15. Relatively good results in the sector during the pandemic have shown the resilience of the Polish Food and Agri sector today. Bulletin talked to Michał Siwek, Director of the Food and Agri International Hub Department at BNP Paribas, to get a better understanding of the transformations this sector is currently undergoing. We are currently in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. Is there any way you see a connection with the Food & Agri industry? “The pandemic has affected us in every area – the way we live and work, and how we consume. On the whole, we perceive the Food & Agri sector as, if not exactly the winners, then one of the areas that has lost the least in this situation. At first, we had three main concerns. We were afraid that the virus may easily be transmitted in shops, which would eventually cause their closure. Closing down food service outlets and hotels was the second one – it was uncertain how this would affect the value chains. And there was also a concern about transportation – would we have enough healthy drivers and would the trucks get stuck at the borders? Can you tell us how important the Food & Agri sector is for the bank? Michał Siwek: “BNP Paribas Bank Polska is a universal bank with a global reach. Our client portfolio consists of clients from all sectors of the Polish economy, but the Food & Agri sector is of crucial importance for us. We are a market leader in the financing of this sector. We are the leader in the food processing segment and also in the primary producers segment. We have been building this expertise for decades through our consistent support of our clients’ businesses, despite the turbulence in the economy. We treat our deep understanding of the Food & Agri business as one of our main differentiators on the market and a competitive advantage. BNP Paribas HQ recognised our local achievements and decided to set up a Food & Agri sector competence centre in Poland. The Food & Agri International Hub Department operates as BNP Paribas Group’s competence centre for Poland, Ukraine and Turkey. We ensure that our clients receive a comprehensive service, and we strive to offer them the best possible understanding of their needs, based on our sectorial know-how and experience.”

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Fortunately, the shops have kept operating throughout the pandemic so far. The closure of the hospitality industry has only impacted some parts of the sector. Transportation was a big issue at the beginning, but gradually, also thanks to the regulators, it has started to work rather smoothly. In a connected world that will soon number 10 billion people, there is a fairly big chance that we will see another threat of this kind within our generation. But I also think that we will be better prepared than today to face such dangers.” How do you look at the current situation regarding climate change and the biodiversity changes in the world? How much is Poland impacted by this? “Protecting our planet against climate change is currently the greatest challenge facing mankind. Poland is maybe not perceived as a region heavily affected by climate change, but the country has experienced a significant change. The temperatures in Poland today, in comparison to the 18th century, have increased by 2°C, while the average global temperature


rise was lower at 1°C. We are already experiencing droughts, actually every year. In the future, it may happen that the number of working hours outdoors will decrease, the number of floods will increase and, most of all, the land may change by being exposed to climate change due to heat or humidity. These kinds of extremes have become a new normal, and we have to learn how to cope with them even though they are extremely difficult to predict. In all that, three-quarters of the food supply on this planet is drawn from just 12 crops and five species of livestock. This is where climate change and biodiversity have an effect. Any adverse change in the conditions for these crucial species would have massive implications for humans. Poland performs relatively well in the studies on biodiversity, but we are part of the global food system. We must not get complacent – that’s in everybody’s interests.” What is the average level of growth of farm productivity in Poland and what are the factors that could hinder further growth of this figure? “The productivity of Polish agriculture is rising, but there is still a considerable gap when you compare it to the ‘old’ EU-15. In 2008, the gap to the EU-15 average was 70%, although by 2018 this figure had fallen to 49%. A factor that definitely influences this is the size of the farm. The average farm area in 2002 was 5.8 ha, and in 2018 it was 11.3 ha. More than half of the farmers cultivate no more than 5 ha of land, and 75% work less than 10 ha. Farming techniques also have an influence on this. The average yield of Polish grains is approximately at the level of France or Germany from the 1970s. We also need to consider future weather stresses and precision input management. To some extent, technology could be of help – there are already tools available for Polish farmers related to satellite monitoring and farm management. BNP Paribas supports access to that, for example via our portal, agronomist.pl.” What are the most significant trends in consumer tastes in food in Poland? “I would say that the biggest trend is the increasing number of people searching for food that is perceived as healthy. The largest single claim made for newly introduced products in Poland in 2020 was that they were Organic – approximately 25% of new launches made this claim, according to the Mintel research company. The other top claims related to having low or no-allergen content, with no additives or preservatives. People are becoming more and more sensitive and interested in what is on the label, where the products come from and how they might impact their health. Another important trend is the increasing number of customers who are limiting their consumption of meat, and the increased presence of vegan food. In 2016, just 2% of new launches claimed to be vegan, but in 2020 this figure was 16%. Vegan food is very close to becoming mainstream, even outside the large cities. For example, you can easily find Beyond Burger

products in the large supermarket chains in towns all around Poland. They are not a hook product yet, but the importance of having them in your offer is growing. It is not clear how the sugar tax will affect consumer choices. There have been shelf-price increases in soft drinks since the tax was introduced in January 2021 and it received a lot of publicity. The next months will bring us the answer.” What is the difference compared to countries in Western Europe? “In Western Europe, there is more focus on the environmental aspects of products. Environmentally friendly packaging and recycling are the two dominant marketing trends in new products in 2020. One may say that, when making consumer choices, the people of Western Europe put the health of the planet slightly higher than their own health. Another difference is that there seem to be fewer new vegan product launches than in Poland, where being vegetarian is much more visible. Maybe this is down to the fact that in Poland we like to make extreme consumer choices more often than in the ‘old’ EU.” What is the impact of these changes for producers in Poland? “Polish food producers are very aware of these trends, both in Poland and in Western Europe. They must track consumers even more closely than before, and marketing communication takes on more dimensions. It is not enough to simply say nicely that your product is good for your health and for the planet. You have to prove it to customers, who are becoming more and more investigative. I think there will be a growing emphasis, driven by both consumers and retailers, on transparency and traceability. Localisation is also a trend that allows you to be very well adapted to the requirements of today’s consumer.” Can you identify some of the sectors or trends that will give opportunities for entrepreneurs in the coming years? “I assume they will be aspects related to the environment and health. We have so much to do in the whole food ecosystem in terms of packaging and waste. There are a lot of unanswered questions of various kinds – technological, organisational, economic – in food waste or bio-plastic packaging, for example. There are definitely huge profit opportunities in that. We are also at the beginning of the Green Deal era in the EU. The Green Deal really underlines the importance of food through its Farm to Fork Strategy. It literally says that organic farming is the way to go, to a large extent. Overall, I believe it will be a decade of opportunities for the Food & Agriculture business – both economically and also in terms of its image and fight for new talent.”

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News

from our Members SNBN starts activities in Poland As of 1 January 2021, Remco van den Kroft has been appointed the local representative of Stichting Nederlanders Buiten Nederland (SNBN). The goal of SNBN is to represent the interests of Dutch citizens living abroad vis-à-vis the Dutch government. SNBN (www.nederlandersbuitennederland.nl) was founded in order to support the interests of Dutch people living abroad and it acts partly as a watchdog, partly as a consultative partner and partly as a lobbyist towards the government. “The Dutch legislator continues to make laws that directly or indirectly affect Dutch nationals living outside the Netherlands – a good example is the law on opening up dual nationality to Dutch nationals in the UK in the event of a ‘hard Brexit’. Taking this impact into account, we stand firm that we must be continuously alert to both existing and future legislation and use our influence when it is in the interests of Dutch nationals

living abroad. The same reasoning applies to voting from abroad: this process should be (better) facilitated so that we can successfully vote on laws that affect our lives abroad as well.” SNBN wrote in a press statement. The SNBN board members hold membership of a range of political parties, including VVD, CDA, D66, GroenLinks, SP, PvdA, ChristenUnie, 50PLUS and FvD, which ensures swift access to the right political channels that are needed for effective advocacy.

Emil Frey Polska appoints Jiří Picek as new CEO Emil Frey Polska Sp. z o.o. has announced Jiří Picek as the new CEO of the company. Picek has 27 years of automotive experience in wholesale and retail, and previously worked as Managing Director of Emil Frey Cr and Subaru Cr (the retail activities of Emil Frey and the wholesale activities of Subaru in the Czech Republic, respectively). Picek will succeed Kurt Dekker, who has successfully lead Emil Frey Polska for the last three years. Automotive company Emil Frey Polska holds dealerships representing BMW, Mercedes, Mini, Peugeot, Skoda and Volkswagen, while the Emil Frey Select locations also offer used cars. Emil Frey Polska is part of the European automotive group Emil Frey Holding AG in Switzerland.

Sjef Boekestijn rewarded During a recent Transport and Logistics event organised by TLP, COO Sjef Boekestijn of Boekestijn Transport Service received the medal of honour for his contribution to the transport sector in Poland from the Minister of Infrastructure, Andrzej Adamczyk. The award is intended for leaders that have made a special contribution to the transport industry, which plays a vital role in the national economy. Sjef Boekestijn has worked for the company since the age of 12. He moved to Poland to improve processes within the

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company, since which time the fleet has seen a five-fold increase in size.


Platinum

Sponsor Article

2020 sets a new record in EV sales on the Polish market In the wake of the pandemic, new EV registrations doubled (+133.8%) from January to September 2020 to reach 4,567 units, but diesel and petrol-powered cars still account for more than 80% of the Polish fleet as the price of electric models and the absence of direct subsidies continue to hamper sales. The Polish government has committed itself to developing e-mobility and in 2016 announced a plan to put 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2025. Meanwhile, according to the latest ACEA Report (2020), consumer interest in electric cars is directly related to the country’s GDP. With an average of less than EUR 30,000 per capita, Poland ranks among those countries where the market share of electric cars is lower than 1%.

mobility services. As of now, though, monetary incentives have yet to be introduced in Poland. Poland is one of the largest passenger car markets in terms of new registrations and home to the largest European electric vehicle battery factory, and as such it is committed to increasing the popularity of electric passenger cars. Therefore, the Polish EV market in the future will be accelerated by implementation of a comprehensive EV support scheme, development of the charging infrastructure and the growing environmental awareness of consumers who in the initial phase will need reliable, stable and significant subsidies or tax advantages to boost the economic appeal of electric vehicles versus conventional ones.

With current EV prices affordable to only a quarter of Poles, it is necessary to provide consumers with incentives to minimise the difference between the prices of EVs and conventional vehicles and boost the popularity of alternative drives. Current incentives for owners and users of zero-emission vehicles include excise duty exemption, free parking in paid areas, unlimited access to Clean Transport Zones, green registration plates that facilitate identification of zero-emission vehicles, and bus lanes. New incentives slated for 2021 will introduce a 100% VAT deduction on new electric vehicles (including leased ones) and energy, an additional EUR 10,000 worth of allowed depreciation base for an EV purchase or PLN 75,000 for a lease, the facilitated installation of a charging infrastructure in buildings and incentives for users and operators of shared

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Interview

Eddy van der Steen Owner of Zielone Czyste

Keeping clean hands in a swift business A few weeks prior to the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, the NPCC ordered a complete set of electronic dispensers for paper towels, soap and air freshener for its office. At the time of their installation, the supplier, our member Zielone Czyste, told us that they had delivered to us their last available stock. A few days later, they went on a rollercoaster ride consisting of a spike in demand, empty warehouses and dealing with fast but shady suppliers. We talked about doing business in the time of Covid-19 with owner Eddy van der Steen of Zielone Czyste. hand dryers, so through our contacts from that company, we got in touch with the department that sold hand dryers, and then from hand dryers we went to soap dispensers and everything for public washrooms.” When you started this company six years ago, what was your idea of the market back then? Did you do any market research?

Before we talk about your company and how you have been operating during the pandemic, can you tell us first about how you ended up in Poland? Eddy van der Steen: “I ended up in Poland because I married one of my previous customers. I used to work for a company selling gaming devices and one of my clients went on to become my wife. In that company, I was responsible for sales in Central Europe and I travelled regularly to Poland. And that is how it all happened.” And you went from selling gaming devices to Zielone Czyste. How did you start your own business? “That happened by coincidence. The gaming devices that we sold had a banknote acceptor from South Korea – that’s the device that checks banknotes. That Korean company also produces

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“In hindsight, you could say that we had a vision. But it all started with the opportunity that we had to become an exclusive distributor for those hand dryers, and from then on we started to get more involved in the business and we also did some market research. When you nowadays go to the city centre and visit restaurants, hotels and offices, and see what they are using, I would say 95% still have manual dispensers for soap and hand towels. Therefore, we decided to focus on touchless products. And from hand dryers, we moved onto touchless soap dispensers and touchless hand towel dispensers, to make the whole process from washing hands to drying hands completely touchless. Very early on, we realised that the touchless market was completely open.” How did your company develop in pre-Covid times? “I am Dutch, which means I’m quite headstrong. The philosophy of our company is that the dispenser is merely a means to an end. The dispenser itself is not our business, our core business is refills; toilet paper, hand towels, soap and disinfection products. We therefore try to supply our customers with the dispensers at a minimum cost. In the beginning, we were offering touchless dispensers for “manal” prices. The only thing people had to do was buy a minimum quantity of refills. And because


people were so satisfied with the quality of the dispensers and the consumables, all our customers kept buying the refills. It doesn’t make sense to offer an inferior quality product in a touchless dispenser. The association people have with touchless dispensers is that it’s a quality product, something extra. Therefore, we chose products of the highest quality, only eco-label and certified, and also, and this is very important, only dedicated refills. We do not sell any dispensers that can be refilled manually.” And then came Covid. For many people, that was a disaster but for your business it was a great challenge. Is that right? “Starting from February-March 2020, we sold everything we had in the warehouse. We had a completely empty warehouse. Then, we started to have problems with supply because many of the producers were not allowed to export freely anymore. Almost all suppliers of disinfection products simply could not cope with the demand. In the beginning, Covid was very good for us because our products were in great demand. However, then supply became a problem.”

same amount. They were able to produce 50% more, so we got 50% more than we got in the previous year. From our side, we didn’t accept any new customers, and we only tried to supply our existing customer base. Customers who used to buy 500 boxes of disinfection foam were therefore entitled to buy 750 boxes. We tried to supply our existing customers as best we could.” It's now been a year since the Covid outbreak began in Poland. How does your market look now? “As it stands now, the lockdown has brought our business to a standstill, more or less. Many clients are completely closed. For example, restaurants, which are allowed only to deliver or give takeaway food at the front door, don’t need toilet paper, towels or soap because they have no guests. What we think will happen, when businesses start to operate again, is that people will want to get rid of the temporary towel and soap solutions. We think that people will remove the disinfectant sprays that are currently standing next to the entrances and find a proper solution in a more suitable location, namely the public washroom.” When do you think the trend of hyper-awareness about hygiene will end?

How did you solve that? “We couldn’t really solve it. We sold what we got from our known suppliers. We didn’t want to get involved in the short-term panic, and we didn’t want to add low-quality products to our portfolio just for a short time and only to make a quick buck.” But why not? There was a huge demand and a chance to make some money. “There was a huge demand, that’s true. And there was also an abundance of products but as a wholesaler you couldn’t know what you were actually buying. Many of the product providers are working with have temporary approval documents. Normally, if you want to introduce a new disinfection product onto the Polish market, it will take you a year to go through the whole permanent registration process. Now, it was more about sending the documents to the legislation office and they would give you a sixmonth approval. We sell high-quality dispensers and high-quality consumables, and we didn’t want to get involved in the Wild West type of business for a short period.” What do you know about these products? How do you know that they are inferior? “We can see that many of these products are causing problems with people’s skin. When you have a problem with your skin, you have to buy an additional hand cream for these products. Our product already contains skin conditioner, so it not only disinfects but also takes care of the skin.” What did you do when you ran out of product? How did you manage then? Did you say no to your clients, or could you still put your hands on some stock from somewhere? “Luckily, our suppliers were able to increase their output. They told customers like us that they would increase our volume by the

“People have become more focused on hygiene nowadays, but this will slow down. I think that people now have learned that viruses and bacteria are and always will be there. It’s not something that hits you incidentally, but it’s part of everyday life. You don’t have to explain to many people that you should wash your hands after you go to the toilet. That’s what we teach our children. More and more people now realise that it’s better not only to wash your hands, but also to disinfect them on a regular basis.” So you think people will realise that this extra step is necessary? “Most people hate masks, so the first item that will disappear when this coronavirus pandemic is finished are the masks. But I also think that many people will continue to disinfect their hands, especially in public places. At home, you can take care of yourself, but in public places, like restaurants, museums, hotels and train stations, I think that people will want to have the possibility to disinfect their hands. Over 70% of viruses and bacteria are transferred via hand contact, not through the air.” And this extra awareness about hygiene means that people are more willing to spend money on that? “More willing is maybe too strong. They realise that they have to. For many people, and this was the case pre-Covid as well, a restaurant was judged by its toilet. If the toilet looked a mess, the kitchen would most probably be a mess, too. After this crisis, when people go to the toilet and see the hygienic equipment is state-of-the-art and touchless, and that everything is there, not only a cheap liquid soap to fulfill the minimum requirement but a good quality disinfection gel in a touchless dispenser, I think this will work out very positively for the image of the company. I also think that people working in big offices, with many colleagues, will demand adequate equipment to prevent viruses and bacteria from spreading.”

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Tested by NPCC

Electric Vehicle Test Drive

Volkswagen , electric another VW ‘icon’

ID.3

Volkswagen has been responsible for several iconic cars over the years, such as the Beatle in 1938 and the Golf in 1974, and now here we are in 2021 with another potential icon in the form of the ID.3 electric car.

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Overall, it is a nice, cute practical car. The bodywork is 135 mm shorter and 20 mm wider than the latest Golf, and it also has a bigger wheelbase, which gives it additional space inside. We like the big 18” wheels that come as standard and you can even go up to as big as 20” tyres. The car is reasonably high and has a high entry. This height gives you a very good overview on the road while driving and parking the vehicle.

What is the ID.3 like to drive? First of all, it has a rear engine. We did our test drive during some very snowy days around Warsaw at the beginning of February, and the rear-wheel drive means you have to be a bit more careful with the handling. Driving the car felt very similar to travelling around in a Golf. We think that if you are looking for a normal hatchback for city driving, for shopping or visiting family and friends, then electric cars are better than their petrol engine equivalents. They are much quieter,

and the overall driving experience is much more luxurious. In terms of range, there are three battery options. There is the medium 58 kWh battery pack that will do around 400 km, the smaller 45 kWh pack which is good for 320 km, and the larger 77 kWh pack offering 570 km. The medium battery will take around 9 hours to recharge on a home connection. But if you are on the road and can find a 100 kWh rapid charger, you can go from 10% to 80% in just 30 minutes.

Inside, it is also similar to a Volkswagen Golf. You get the same infotainment system, and the same general layout. However, since this is an electric car, there are a few key differences. First and foremost, there is no transmission tunnel, which therefore means there is more space for passengers to move their legs around in the rear. In general, the back offers a lot of legroom and it is well fitted-out for tall people, too. Due to the low position of the central console, the car looks very spacious, while the lack of a clutch has been used to create extra storage space for your phone, keys or whatever else you may need. All the instruments are located in the screen pod on top of the steering column. You can manage the buttons on the wheel simply by swiping, which gives it a very futuristic feel. When you turn the wheel, the entire pod moves with it, so the screen is never obscured. The infotainment system has a logical layout and is easy to get used to. However, we did hear a few remarks about the control buttons for the infotainment system. They can also be controlled by swiping, but we think you will soon get used to that and it makes the whole experience of driving the car much more futuristic.

Those are the official figures, but these ranges are a little overstated, in our opinion. Our test car was equipped with a 45 kWh pack, but we could only reach 220 km. Of course, it all depends on how much you use your car entertainment system and whether you like to push the pedal all the way to the floor. Overall, we like the ID.3 very much. It is futuristic, but not too much so. We like its design from the outside, and the inside is also very attractive – not so much in the materials that are used, because they could have been done better, but the general design is cool. And finally, it seems that some of our previous remarks in the Bulletin may have been heard by the carmakers as we finally have an electric vehicle where you can tell from the outside that it is an electric car. Together with the Tesla Model 3, the ID.3 is set to become one of the bestsellers among the new electric cars. We haven’t tested the Model 3 yet, but the ID.3 is sure to be a top contender due to its familiarity to drivers and also its price, which is just a bit under that of the Model 3. The Netherlands Polish Chamber of Commerce was invited to test this car by Hitachi Capital Polska

25


Interview

with regional member

Jakub Gładkowski Attorney, Founding Partner of KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI KG LEGAL

Supporting cross-border cooperation and helping globalisation processes is one of the greatest challenges for current business in Poland What is the reason that you are located in the regions of Kraków and Warsaw? Was this a strategic choice or a coincidence?

Can you tell us more about your company? Jakub Gładkowski: “KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI Law Firm is a team of Polish attorneys. We specialise in providing services to foreign companies that need legal assistance in Poland to establish and grow their businesses here. We have earned the trust of large corporate clients, through our proven track record over the years of providing legal advice in cross-border cases, including commercial and corporate law, contracts, civil and commercial litigation, labour law, with particular emphasis on the legal needs of clients operating in the sector of new technologies, IT, life sciences and representatives of conventional branches of industry, as well as transport and logistics services. We owe our growing portfolio of key clients to the non-standard – umbrella-like – personnel structure of our law firm, in which we work only with experienced, qualified lawyers with international experience. This means that our clients always pay for specific professional work, without any unnecessary work performed by younger legal trainees. Thanks to our clients, we are in the world's leading rankings of law firms, such as The Legal 500.”

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“The location of our offices in Warsaw and Kraków is wellthought-out and constitutes a response to the specific needs of our clients, who, on the one hand, wish to set up their business in the vicinity of national regulatory authorities and administrative offices (namely Warsaw) but, on the other hand, aim to develop their business through acquiring well-educated, professional and cost-effective employees or subcontractors. These can be easily found in Kraków, which, while being an academic centre, also offers a wide array of assistance to businesses, including technology transfer centres, research centres, academic career offices, the technology park, the largest life science cluster, the digital innovation hub, the startup accelerator, and many others.As business lawyers, we try to make the best of these two cities and offer our clients a unique networking base.” Can you recommend your region above other regions in Poland for companies that are looking to start or invest in Poland? “Our nationwide experience shows the great advantage of Kraków as a starting or investment location in Poland as opposed to other regions of the country. According to press statistics, almost 25,000 commercial law companies were registered in Kraków just before the pandemic, including 5,048 with a foreign shareholding structure. To this, there should be added about 80,000 companies in the form of an individual business activity. Kraków offers good staffing conditions for businesses because there are dozens of colleges here offering rare fields of studies, and in the era of technological revolution, the city’s attractiveness is also determined by its very well-developed research infrastructure.”


Can you tell us about the recent business developments/ opportunities in the region? Is the local government investing a lot in infrastructure, or are there developments in the regional labour market? “The development of the number of companies with a foreign shareholding structure based in Kraków, maintaining the city’s second place in Poland in terms of competitiveness, the ability to attract foreign investors, maintaining second place in Poland in terms of the number of listed companies based in the city – these are the main Indicators of the achievements of the strategic goals for Kraków until 2030. This strategy for the development of Kraków, as recorded in the official documents of the city authorities, allows us to state that, considering the conditions of Polish economic realities, the development of Kraków's infrastructure gives grounds for hope that the labour market will develop successfully for foreign investments in this region.” What is the impact on your business of COVID-19 and was there a possibility to adjust your business activity to the new market circumstances? “Cross-border transactional and advisory legal services and cooperation within our law firm have, to a great extent, been moved to a virtual and online form. Consultations with key management on specific legal matters are almost entirely held in the form of teleconferences. This also applies to the participation of our associates in internal events or participation in the annual meetings of our parent international organisations. A virtual presence is also possible in court hearings in Polish courts. This situation, forced by the pandemic, is made possible by the use of broadband internet and modern technologies allowing global video communication and data exchange. This has prompted our law firm to invest in innovative IT solutions that are safe for our clients.” How do you stay motivated yourself in times of COVID-19 and how do you motivate your staff? “The pandemic conditions have motivated our team to engage in continuous education in areas where various legal specialisations overlap, as dictated by the new expectations of our clients. The pandemic has forced many clients to restructure their businesses, monitor changing government regulations, and

switch to teleworking or body leasing. All this motivates us to be alert and stay on our guard with all the recent legal changes. For our part, we hold regular virtual meetings with our team of lawyers. We also control the structure of the flow of information and sensitive data of our clients on an ongoing basis. This integrates the team and motivates our lawyers to adjust to the changing work environment.” Can you tell us which innovations you have implemented recently in your product or service or in the work floor? “In cooperation with ICT service providers, we have implemented additional security for document circulation and information exchange. After all, the documents of our clients that have been entrusted for legal analysis, or the transfer of data carrying the sound and image of consultations and the participation of our associates in events and court sessions, are, from the perspective of EU law, sensitive data subject to the strictest protection. The realities of the pandemic have accelerated the processes of verifying the service providers that we operate with globally, to ensure that all data transfer procedures are consistent with the most recent European Union jurisprudence (e.g. Schrems II). Our documents meet the criteria of the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) eIDAS No. 910/2014 and produce legal effects equivalent to the legal effects of handwritten signatures with the SHA-256 hash algorithm in the PAdES format.” Is there anything you would like to add, like a recommendation for our members or an experience you want to share? “Our law firm values the opportunity to participate in business organisations such as the NPCC. We believe that the pandemic will, paradoxically, create additional development opportunities for such organisations. Supporting cross-border cooperation and helping globalisation processes is one of the greatest challenges for current business in Poland. Therefore, we believe that local companies will increasingly reach for advisory assistance to institutions such as the NPCC. We also believe that Kraków’s chapter of the NPCC will steadily grow under the active leadership of Mr. Jasper Buter.”

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Agus

1ToDrive

Agus is a reliable producer of a wide and diverse range of food on the global market. With a history stretching back into the last century, our success stems from our experience in the business and our desire to break new ground to the benefit of our customers. We have worked with clients as tactical and strategic partners, drawing upon our professional food knowledge to create and execute innovative, customised food solutions that address our clients’ most important needs. At Agus, we believe that the satisfaction and success of our customers is paramount. Only by building strong and lasting partnerships with our clients, through cooperation profitable to both sides, can we achieve growth for our company. Our mission, therefore, is simply to be a preferred foodstuff supplier to our clients.

1ToDrive is a full-service provider of personnel services, focusing mainly on the recruitment and employment of professional truck drivers. Every day, more than 2,000 truck drivers are working for our clients in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Poland.

Agus offers a full range of services in developing solutions that enable our customers to meet the demand in their markets. Agus has been designing and commercialising branded food products on the global market since 1948. Our activity is based on 2 business units:

After an extensive recruitment process, which includes checking references, the candidates are asked to record a short motivational video using our own video recruitment tool. In this way, clients get the opportunity to see the candidate for the first time.

B2C: beverages: smoothies snacks: honey nut bars cereals: granola, muesli, porridge, oats

And if there is a match, we take care of all the documents concerning employment, settlements and (if needed) permits and housing.

B2B: milk powders dairy powdered ingredients dairy powdered consumer products Agus al. Jana Pawła II 22, 00-133 Warszawa +48 22 313 29 00 info@AgusGlobal.com https://agusglobal.com/

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Katowice is our first branch in Poland. Our goal is to help transport companies find the best truck drivers to fill their vacancies, allowing our clients to focus on their core business of transportation. We have an extensive database of professional truck drivers. Based on our client’s wishes, we look for the right specialist to help them to achieve their goals.

1ToDrive Opolska 22, 40-084 Katowice +48 32 209 70 10 katowice@1todrive.com https://1todrive.com/


New

Members

Transterra Polska Sp. z o.o. Transterra Polska Sp. z o.o. is a dynamic international transport company which specialises in international trucking. We began operating in 2005 and we have achieved a steady pace of growth every year since then. During that time, we have assembled a fleet of 70 units and there are still many prospects and challenges ahead of us to enable our further development in the future. We are active in the field of regular trailer trucking, as well as the specialised transportation of liquid bulk containers and trailers. Our drivers and dispatch staff are specially trained and have wide experience in various types of trucking activities (e.g. trucking of tautliners, mega trailers, refrigerated trailers, tank containers and tank trailers). The equipment and technologies we use are up-to-date and meet the latest standards. Although our origins ensure we have a strong connection to Scandinavian countries, we provide our services throughout the whole of Europe and beyond. Your transport is our challenge! Transterra Polska Sp. z o.o. E. Ciolka 12, lok 109, 01-402 Warszawa +48 22 826 6960 https://www.transterra.nl/pl/

Navitas Consultancy Navitas Consultancy offers board level support, interim management and executive coaching in the Netherlands and in Poland. Owner Marc Fremouw has more than 25 years’ experience in different roles at management and board level and has been active in Poland for nearly 10 years. Branches: supply chain and logistics; retail and wholesale; customer service. Specific focus areas: corporate governance, mergers, acquisitions and start-ups; strategy development; organisational development and change; business process outsourcing; improvement programmes. With a wealth of experience and an extensive network in both the Netherlands and Poland, Marc is well positioned to support companies operating in both countries. Navitas Consultancy +31 6 215 98309 https://navitasconsultancy.com/

DLP Dr Lewandowski & Partners The Warsaw office of DLP Dr Lewandowski & Partners (“DLP”) is a well-known and well-established legal firm in the heart of Warsaw offering a comprehensive range of services and legal advice fully tailored to our Polish and international clients’ demands and expectations. We specialise in assisting foreign clients to enter the Polish business sector and offer our expertise regarding the setting up and acquisition of subsidiaries, representing foreign clients in litigation cases before Polish state and arbitration courts and enforcing (cross–border) judgments. Our multi-lingual staff provides services particularly in Polish, English, German and Russian. DLP is a member of DIRO – based in Hamburg, Germany (www.diro.eu) and one of the largest law firm networks in Europe – and also IR Global (www. irglobal.com), which has its headquarters in London in the UK and is a network of the world’s leading legal, accountancy and financial advisers. In addition, DLP is also a member of IsFiN, a platform of emerging markets advisors that has its seat in Brussels, Belgium (www.isfin.net). All of this allows DLP to provide its services on a worldwide level. DLP Dr Robert Lewandowski & Partners sp.k. ul. Poznańska 16 lok. 3, 00-680 Warszawa Tel.: +48 22 10 10 740; office@drlewandowski.eu www.drlewandowski.eu

Syto Co-Packaging Wadowice Syto offers its clients a wide range of packing services covering both simple projects and also complex, high-expenditure ones. Packing at Syto means combining processes with services in the scope of co-packing, co-manufacturing, conditioning, assembly and co-creation of final products, as well as packing materials which are part of performed projects. The wide variety of services that we offer allows our clients to optimise their processes in the delivery chain, and therefore also the costs of their logistical operations. Seasonality, the changing of projects and promotion activities, as well as the need to combine many subjects in one project, makes collaboration with Syto special when compared to our competitors – we are the leaders in our field. Syto Co-Packaging Wadowice Wadowicka 172A, 34-120 Inwałd +48 33 872 99 73 a.vanrijswijk@syto.eu https://syto.nl/pl-pl

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Column

Letter to my former Prime Minister Dear Mr Rutte,

Huub Droogh is an urbanist and partner at RDH Urban in Poznań

I understand that leading a country’s government in today’s world involves balancing on a tightrope of concessions and compromises. I am not a member of your liberal party, but there were moments when I supported your party during elections. Sometimes convinced, sometimes with doubts, sometimes with a slight pain in my stomach. But when voting for your party, I was convinced it was trying to contribute to a transparent and honest world based on social-liberal principles. With your hard work and modest behaviour, you have gradually earned my respect over the last decade. Like some of your critics, I also missed some wider perspective in your actions, a strategic vision, some greener grass on the other side of the hill... But I understood that what the Netherlands and Europe needed most of all in the last decade was connection more than debate. What we needed were politicians able to unite countries, not divide them. Based on this observation, you – step-by-step – gained my trust and also became ‘my’ Prime Minister. Until 10 December 2020…

Sometimes, life forces us to choose a position. Some cases should be non-negotiable, even for a politician. Respecting human rights, the independence of the country’s justice system, the unspoken integrity of elected politicians and the honest use of taxpayers’ money are just some of those topics. Noblesse oblige… In Munich in 1938, the then British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, made an irreversible mistake. Driven by pragmatism, though with good intentions, his aim was to connect Europe, not divide it. But by accepting something that shouldn’t have been accepted, things slowly started to unravel. It started small, but when it became clear that it was irreversible, it was already too late. Human rights were violated on a massive scale and minorities persecuted. It led to a divided Europe and a war that left millions of people from all over the world dead and victimised before justice and human rights were restored.

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I don’t know what would have happened if Chamberlain had taken a stricter position in 1938. But what I learned from it is that letting nationalistic politicians slip away to avoid confrontation is not always the best solution.

that the next general election will bring a new Polish government that intends to respect EU rules and values. Do we really believe that European leaders will force this new government to reimburse the illegally paid subsidies for 2021 and 2022?

On 10 December 2020, European leaders compromised with the Polish government by postponing a verdict about the relationship between having access to EU funds and respecting the rule of law. With this, the Dutch government, among others, legitimised another EU government to continue violating its constitution, ignore human rights and abuse public money raised by EU taxpayers. By letting themselves be blackmailed by the threat that Poland would veto the European budget for 2021–2027, European leaders made an irreversible mistake. The explanation that the European Court will consider the causality between European funding and the independent rule of law in Poland within two years looks reasonable at first sight. For the layman voter, the statement that wrongfully paid funds will be reclaimable sounds fair. But let’s be honest, don’t we know better?

The EU will think twice before it makes life for this Polish government – carried by the intention to restore relations with Brussels – more difficult by claiming back money that their predecessors used to destroy the rule of law. Is the EU going to force Polish taxpayers to finance their own rape of the rule of law? Maybe this is what the current nationalist politicians are hoping for, during their upcoming years in safe opposition? It will open a free shooting gallery for them…

The European funding that Poland will receive from the budget for 2021–2027 has already been spent. Not in a concrete way, but by way of the promises of the current Polish government to the municipalities and state agencies ruled by party members. To the mayors who declared their municipality ‘LGBT-free’. To the party activists who defend the violation of women’s rights. To the overpaid directors of a murky web of state-owned companies and agencies who abuse governmental power to obstruct and dismantle what is left of an independent press and a professional public administration.

The EU will never execute such a verdict because they don’t want to lose the great support for Europe among Polish citizens. So they will come up with another compromise, but this will then open the shooting gallery for the anti-European populists in Western Europe. For them, it will be another example that the EU isn’t able to enforce its own regulations. Free shots for Madame Le Pen, Mr Wilders, Mr Baudet and Mrs Marijnissen. And for me? For me, it will cause a hangover to know that the process I am witnessing now – the demolition of a free and democratic Central Eastern Europe – has been financed by my own tax money.

“Sometimes, life forces us to choose a position”

Until the next general election, the current government – supported by this army of local politicians and board members of state-owned companies – is being legitimised by the EU to continue its attack on the rules of a free democracy. Prefinanced by EU taxpayers, it can continue to dismantle Poland’s legal system, discriminate against minorities and send messages of hate to divide Polish society. Financed by public money, it can continue to eliminate the free press, and continue to fill the pockets of the unqualified but party-loyal civil servants. Subsidised by the EU, this army of party-dependent functionaries will be a huge administrative booby trap for the next government. Let’s assume the European Court will declare within 2-3 years – despite the delay tactics from the Polish government – that the prematurely paid subsidies can be reclaimed. And let’s assume

Why should a simple SME entrepreneur have to explain this to one of Europe’s most experienced statesmen? Was there a warning from the Dutch ministry of foreign affairs, or from the VNO-NCW organisation? Isn’t it time the local CEOs of Dutch multinationals in Poland underlined more directly to their Dutch headquarters what went wrong in Poland? More than one columnist of this magazine has already warned several times that it will not take long before – in the event of a legal conflict – a state-owned Polish competitor will receive favourable treatment ahead of a Dutch multinational. Are all headquarters aware their company is established in a country where the rule of law and human rights are under serious pressure? Isn’t it time for a professional VNO-NCW lobby to raise the pressure on Dutch politicians to get actively involved? With full of respect for what you have done so far for the Netherlands and for Europe, Mr Rutte, this time I can’t support ‘my’ Prime Minister during the upcoming election. Sometimes, life forces us to choose a position. By compromising on something that should not be negotiable – not even for a politician – you have lost for me the track record that you had earned.

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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Messages

from the Embassy Offshore Wind Sector – time for NL business involvement Poland took a big step towards an energy transition in its still highly coal-dependent economy. The long-awaited Offshore Wind Act, signed recently by the President, will soon enter into force, marking the beginning of large-scale offshore wind development (8-11 GW by 2040) in the Baltic Sea region of Poland. This is not only good news in the context of European climate agreements, but it also creates opportunities for Dutch businesses, especially in the installation and maintenance phases of offshore wind farms, where the Netherlands is a market leader. To signal these opportunities, the Embassy, RVO and the Netherlands Wind Energy Association (NWEA) organised, with the help of the NPCC, 24/7 Communication and other local partners, a virtual trade mission "to Poland" in December. The appetite for participation was overwhelming. More than 45 Dutch companies joined the mission, and with a total of

European Year of Rail Rail is one of the greenest and safest modes of transport we have. It's also the only one to have almost continuously reduced its

E-learning module about soil completed An e-learning module on soil is ready to be used for educational purposes in Poland. It is one of the outcomes of a project launched by the Embassy and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency in the Hague. Designed by Dutch company AgriHolland, the e-learning module offers a basic soil course that includes materials in Polish for online self-study. The content of the module has been divided into six chapters dedicated to various soil issues: (1) Soil introduction, (2) Soil structure, (3)

Four market studies planned on business opportunities UWAGA, business opportunities are being analysed for you! The Embassy (with a little help from RVO) has commissioned FOUR reports to assess the Polish market in our priority areas:

over 170 Dutch and Polish people taking part, it meant that about 200 matchmaking talks could take place between the companies. The next step: Polish wind energy projects will certainly benefit (and need!) Dutch businesses. This year is the time to position yourself and jump on board the emerging coalitions. And the Embassy will be there to support you with more activities to come!

CO2 emissions since 1990, while at the same time increasing transport volumes. That's why 2021 has been officially designated as the “European Year of Rail” and why we are co-organising the RailFreight Summit in Łódź from 31 May – 2 June. For this occasion, we also commissioned a market study on business opportunities in the Polish rail sector! Soil pH, (4) Water in soil, (5) Organic matter and (6) Organic fertilisers. Each chapter ends with a set of quiz questions that allow the learner to check their level of knowledge. The module was created with the active involvement of experts from Polish universities, specialists in the field of soils, who not only contributed to their individual chapters, but also added videos and checked all the chapters in terms of content. The module is intended for agricultural school students, as well as students and farmers who need to learn the basic knowledge about the functioning of the soil ecosystem. If you are interested, please contact the Embassy’s Agriculture section at war-lnv@minbuza.nl 1. C ircular business in Poland (to be published in March) 2. Water retention (to be published in April) 3. Rail freight (to be published in May) 4. Offshore wind energy (update, to be published in H1 2021)

Stay updated digitally with our websites: LinkedIn page of the Embassy’s Economic Department www.linkedin.com/company/nlinpoland

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Country page for Poland at the website of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality: www.agroberichtenbuitenland.nl/ landeninformatie/polen


Messages

from the Embassy

Dance through the pandemic Krzysztof Pastor is a Polish dancer, choreographer and ballet director who worked in the Netherlands for over 30 years as a dancer and resident choreographer at the Dutch National Ballet. He has created ballets for the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, the Washington Ballet, the Israel Ballet, the Ballet of the Polish National Opera in Warsaw, the Australian Ballet, the West Australian Ballet and many other dance companies. In 2009, Pastor became director of the Polish National Ballet in Teatr Wielki in Warsaw. The embassy held an interview with him on his day off. problem-solving. Being an artist, I sometimes regret my job as a manager, especially when I have to dismiss dancers when their careers are coming to an end. And... I also have to deal with regulations, bureaucracy and administration. I would prefer it all to be a bit more simple. I’m proud of my company, and my dancers, about half of whom are Polish and half are from outside the country. But no Dutch... though that’s just a coincidence. Professional dancing is a passion and cannot be treated as a nine-to-five job. Dancers have to dance as much as possible. They flourish with performances and premieres. Unfortunately, there are obstacles like the strict working regulations set by the unions and the limited financial possibilities for touring. In addition, ballet schools should improve their recruitment and level of teaching. Photo: Anna Fedisz

Krzysztof Pastor: “I never assumed I would return to Poland. I had a prosperous career in Amsterdam, our children were born there, but I was always longing to run my own company. The proposal came from Teatr Wielki – National Opera. Negotiations went on for 5 years but we finally came to an agreement when Mr Dąbrowski became the new director. So I got my own company with 90 dancers in a theatre with over 1,700 seats. A huge bastion employing 1,100 people in the heart of Warsaw: musicians, dancers and technicians. It felt nostalgic to come back to my home country. Because of my experience abroad, I knew there was a huge potential in the Polish National Ballet, but working standards had to be changed in order to take the company to a higher level. I’m a dancer and choreographer so I started to create tailor-made choreographies for the company to build its own genuine identity – a repertoire with the right balance between classic and modern dance. We started to educate our own choreographers and we also invited renowned guest choreographers to bring in foreign experience. As a choreographer, I develop an emotional bond with my dancers in the process of creating a choreography. As a manager, on the other hand, I need to be objective but also trust my artistic intuition in difficult negotiations and

I’m sorry to say this, but our cooperation with the business community is not optimal. In the Netherlands, sponsoring a cultural organisation is a visible token of prestige and social responsibility. It is an investment in branding and in your network which will be received with the greatest hospitability. We do cooperate successfully with a number of companies, but there is plenty of room for expansion. It is obvious that I’m inspired by Dutch dance: the simplicity of the movements where less is more in performance as well as in the stage setting. The art of dance reinvents itself constantly to meet the audience’s expectations. The Polish general public is more traditionally oriented. Dance in the Netherlands has a higher status than in Poland. Whenever the Dutch Minister of Culture and Education speaks about modern art, dance takes a prominent place in those statements. At this moment in time, I have to guide the company through the pandemic. The scheduled performances have not been cancelled as yet, so we are working every day, five days a week! The dancers are happy to practise and work in the studio, but we don’t know when we can go back on stage. The company’s dancers are relatively young and require coaching. In order to stay in touch with our audience, to stay present, we have switched to online streaming. But I must say, I do not like to watch my own choreographies on the screen. Online is merely a substitute for the live experience.”

https://teatrwielki.pl/en/people/krzysztof-pastor/ 33


Column

Budapest on the Vistula The day before I wrote this column, one of Hungary’s last independent radio broadcasters lost its appeal against the revocation of its licence by the media regulator for the alleged breach of administrative regulations. This makes the control of the media sector by the Hungarian government almost absolute.

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

Mr. Kaczyński has never tried to hide the fact that he would like to create Budapest on the Vistula, so Poland will now have to play catch-up. Since the attempts to try and force Mr. Czarnecki to buy TVN for an onward sale to a Polish state enterprise (at least that is what Czarnecki’s lawyer Mr. Giertych claims happened) failed, the Polish government has found a new way to gain an even more dominant position on the Polish media market. Not long after the Polish state oil company, Orlen, purchased several dozen local newspapers, a new tax has been proposed: a tax on advertisements (you guessed it, copied from Hungary). It is supposed to raise money for healthcare and culture, both hit by the coronavirus pandemic. This all sounds innocent enough; after all, there are far too many ads on radio and TV as it is. However, this tax, which is based on turnover (not profit), could easily make several independent media outlets unprofitable or (which is what the government is hoping for) it could entice the Discovery Channel to leave the Polish market and sell TVN, the only fully independent TV broadcaster left (Polsat was silenced a few years ago when the prosecutor wanted to investigate the mining business of its owner).

In the meantime, the public broadcaster TVP gets 2 billion zlotys a year in subsidies, which can be raised at any time to compensate for lost advertising revenue. In another blow to free speech in Poland, a court in Warsaw has ruled that two leading Polish Holocaust scholars must apologise to the 80-yearold niece of a man whom they wrote had been involved in the murder of

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Jews. The court rejected a claim for damages. The man was mentioned in a 1600-page scholarly work by two Holocaust scholars, one Canadian and one Polish.

attention away from a scandal that caused the government to step down two months before the elections, the Dutch government introduced a curfew.

The authors admitted that they had “merged” two mayors with the same name into one person, but this in fact put the uncle in question in a better light. The obvious question is whether a court of law is the place to determine historical truths (if these can be found at all).

The scandal involved the tax authorities having 25,000 families falsely accused of defrauding child care support, thus bringing those families to the (brink of) bankruptcy.

By the time this column is published, anti-corona measures in Poland will have been eased further. Casinos will have reopened, but restaurants will remain closed, unless of course you offer training courses on “How to eat with chop sticks for beginners”, as are currently on offer from one of Warsaw’s ramen places. Gambling is obviously more important than eating out, or could it have anything to do with the State being co-owner of many casinos?

The situation was so bad that the highest administrative court that had supported the government stance issued an official apology.

“the pandemic as an excuse for nationalisations”

Hotels will also have reopened, but a lot of them will probably not survive. Luckily, the state-owned “Hotel Holding” is ready to buy them at a discount: the pandemic as an excuse for nationalisations.

The curfew caused a lot of people fed up with the anti-corona measures to start rioting and looting in several cities. Pictures of the Dutch police force on horseback and with water cannons will have made the Polish police envious: a real battle.

In Poland, the only fun the police get is beating peacefully protesting women, and arresting and harassing “babcia Kasia”, an elderly lady who has been present at every women’s rights and LGBTQ rights protest over the past few years.

In the Netherlands, things are not going that well, either. In order to avoid overheating of the Dutch public health system (much reduced during the past decade), and possibly to divert

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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