EFNI / The European Union will not survive without values

Will the new order be based on values and ideas, or mainly on interests and perception of popular moods? Does the European project need to change? Will the EU continue to inspire its citizens? – these are the questions to which prime ministers sought answers during the plenary session “Facing the Great Disruption: Europe in Search of its Place.”

Jerzy Buzek, the former Prime Minister of Poland, led the discussion. He asked about the values in the European Union. He pointed out that in recent years, national interest has become more important than the European community, and international institutions have been weakening. Several decades ago, this caused the outbreak of two world wars.

Jyrki Katainen, the former Prime Minister of Finland and Vice President of the European Commission, argued that the European Union is based on values such as the rule of law, democracy and human dignity. The EU is not just a single market, a money-making machine.

 ‘I am concerned about the rule of law in the EU. Countries such as Romania, Poland and Hungary have an issue with this. In a liberal democracy, we cannot restrict the rights of minorities or destroy the independent media. There are already voices in many Western countries that there should be no financial support for countries where fundamental values are being called into question,’ he said.

‘I hope that one day Ukraine will become a member of the European Union,’ said Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine. ‘I have the impression that Europeans have forgotten what was at the root of the EU's establishment, what previous generations were fighting for. They take democracy and human rights for granted these days. They forget that war is being fought in Europe, on the outskirts of the EU. There are people dying every single day in Donbass. The war in my country is not only a war between Russia and Ukraine, it is a war with Europe. The European Union has no future without standing up for territorial integrity of Ukraine,’ she added.

Enrico Letta, the former Prime Minister of Italy, noted that another challenge to our democracies consists in the technological changes that affect the way we communicate and consume. The smartphone has revolutionized the world and accelerated the circulation of information. Everything is happening very quickly nowadays. In the last few years, we have seen an acceleration that has fuelled fears and concerns. The generational and geographical gaps are widening. Therefore, we must open up our democracies and old parties to modern technologies.

Herman Van Rompuy, the former Prime Minister of Belgium, spoke with mixed feelings about the fact that we are living in times when consumption, trade and money count more in the lives of citizens than values. And this is very harmful to these values. We are witnessing a crisis of authenticity because values are often proclaimed which are contrary to the reality that surrounds us. Our actions do not correspond to everyday practice. Therefore, we must act in accordance with the values that we proclaim. Fear is the worst enemy of values. Therefore, we must get better at protecting people from threats and fears. Then there is a chance that they will support open economies.



The European Forum for New Ideas is one of the largest conferences in Central and Eastern Europe, dedicated to global trends, new ideas and the future of Europe. Business leaders, policy-makers, politicians as well as authorities representing the world of science, culture and media discuss the most important challenges for business and societies in a changing world, global trends and the future shape of the European Union during dozens of events, panel discussions, open meetings, counterpoints or night owl discussions. Every year, the Forum gathers over a thousand attendees – representatives of the world of business and administration, Polish and European alike, and representatives of NGOs. It has been organized since 2011 by the Polish Confederation Lewiatan in cooperation with BusinessEurope, the city of Sopot, and Polish and foreign companies and organizations. The Forum is aimed at creating ideas for a strong Europe and a competitive economy, a Europe open to trends of social growth and technology. This year’s EFNI is held on 26-28 September in Sopot, and its central theme is: ‘NEW GLOBAL ORDER OR NEW GLOBAL MESS? The World Upgraded: Vision and Responsibility.’

More information: www.efni.pl  



Organizer                                             Polish Confederation Lewiatan

Co-organizers                                      BusinessEurope, Sopot

Honorary Patronage                          European Parliament

Institutional Partners                       Employers’ Group European Economic and Social Committee, European Commission – Representation in Poland, the EEA and Norway Grants 2014–2021

Strategic Partners                             Citi Handlowy, FCA

Main Partners                                      Adecco, Pomerania Development Agency, IKEA, Metlife, Orange, Polish Business Roundtable, The Council of Family Businesses of the Polish Confederation LEWIATAN, TESCO, Pomeranian Voivodship, Polish Automotive Employers’ Association

Supporting Partners                          ACCA, Dr Irena Eris, Ergis, Google, Polish Trade Organization (POHiD),  Polish Economic Institute, Siemens, Synergic, University of ‎‎‎Łódź, Manufacturing Employers’ Association

Knowledge Partners                          Centre for International Relations, European Policy Centre, Responsible Business Forum, Digital University Foundation, Foundation for Polish Science, Global Compact Poland,  In.Europa, Polityka Insight, Polish Space Agency, Respublica, THINKTANK, UNEP/GRID-Warsaw

Strategic Media Partners                 TVN24, Rzeczpospolita, Wirtualna Polska

Main Media Partners                         Euractiv, Forbes, Gazeta Wyborcza, TOK FM

Supporting Media Partners              AMS, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, Liberte!, MyCompany, Parkiet, Puls Biznesu, Radio Gdańsk, Space24, trójmiasto.pl, Warsaw Business Journal, Wysokie Obcasy

Logistic and Technology Partners

                                                                Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport, Orange, DELL EMC

Executive Producer                            IDFX


For additional information please contact:
Zbigniew Maciąg
phone: +48 604 589 080

Milena Malinowska


phone: +48 512 825 988