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We can build carbon-free economy: EC head

“The question we are facing is not whether the European economy will transform, but how can we accelerate this process and make it beneficial to all Europeans,” Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission (EC), said on Monday in a speech played at the inauguration of the European Economic Congress in Katowice, southern Poland.

The head of the EC assessed that there is no better place to talk about the reconstruction of Europe than Katowice – a place that years ago was mainly associated with mines, and is now known for its developing culture, art, modern architecture, nature, sport and business.

“Katowice shows how great the opportunities lie in the transformation of our economy,” she pointed out.

“Science tells us clearly that the coal-powered economy cannot be continued because nature can no longer pay that price and the damage to the climate is too great,” Ms von der Leyen stressed.

She also noted that Poland is the largest exporter of electric buses in Europe this year, adding that the country is at the centre of important changes and, together with other countries in this part of the continent, is a “forge of innovation.”

“The question we are facing is not whether our economy will transform, but how we can accelerate this process and make it beneficial for all Europeans, including the traditionally mining regions of Silesia,” the head of the EC said.

“This summer, we will propose a very detailed roadmap to achieve the climate goals. We are the first continent to deal with these changes in such a detailed way,” she stressed, adding that everyone must get involved in these changes: business leaders, investors, local authorities.

“Europe is a continent of innovators. Our role is to support these pioneers of change and accompany them on their journey. Together, we can build a carbon-free economy that works in the best interests of people and nature,” she pointed out.

Organised since 2009, the European Economic Congress is one of the largest meetings of this type of business, science and politics in Central Europe. The 2019 edition of the congress was record-breaking in terms of attendance, with over 15,500 participants.

Last year, when the congress was held in hybrid mode due to the pandemic, approximately 3,500 people visited, and three times as many watched the online debates. It has been estimated that the unique number of users who viewed selected sessions on the Internet has exceeded 100,000, making it the largest hybrid event in Poland.

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