During yesterday’s gala the Economic Forum awards were handed out once again.
One of the most important successes this year was the election of Jerzy Buzek to the position of President of the European Parliament. Special awards were received by
Leszek Balcerowicz, the former head of the National Bank of Poland, and Günter Verheugen, the Vice President of the E C. The Maspex Wadowice Group was awarded for regional expansion and the Education for Democracy Foundation was appointed the institution contributing significantly to the improvement of living conditions in the region.
[srodtytul]Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament [/srodtytul]
Jerzy Buzek is a doctor of chemical engineering and today the chairman of the European Parliament. Previously Prime Minister, he was the only one after 1989 to head a government for a whole term. He was born in Śmiłowice in 1949. When he became Prime Minister of the AWS government he was as accused of being steered from the back seat. However, he managed to implement some reforms but at the end of his term in office he was not very popular. Yet today, when he was mentioned as one of the candidates for President of the European Parliament, he was cheered on by both the coalition and the opposition.
Since 1989 he has belonged to Solidarity. In 1997 he became a Prime Minister. After the lost election in 2001 he took a break from political life until 2004 when he became a Euro deputy from the list of the Civic Platform. He got the best result in the country by winning over 173,000 votes. This year 393,000 Poles voted for him. In the European Parliament 555 Euro deputies voted for him. He is married to professor Ludygarda Buzek and he has a daughter - the actress Agata Buzek.
In his free time, he goes kayaking or sailing to Mazuria. He also rides horses and skies.
[srodtytul]Krzysztof Pawiński, CEO of the Maspex Group[/srodtytul]
A local leader, Krzysztof Pawliński is one of the fathers of the great success of the Maspex Group which is now the largest manufacturer of fruit juice in Eeast and Central Europe. He always emphasises that the friends he started the business with in 1990 also contributed to this success. They started by importing coffee and cocoa whiteners and, after a few years, Maspex opened its first facility in Wadowice. It manufactured soluble tea under the Ekoland brand, cappuccino and La Festa chocolate. In the coming years he bought other companies, opened more facilities and started taking over companies abroad such as Walmark, the Czech and Slovak leader in the beverage industry.
Last year the group’s revenues amounted to 2.51 billion zloties and President Pawliński hopes that the result will increase by at least 5%. Apart from its strong position in the juice market, Maspex is also the leader in the Polish noodle market with its Lubella brand. Exports already amount to 36% of the group's turnover. Outside our region, it also sells its products in the rest of Europe, the USA, Canada and Arab countries.
[srodtytul]Jacek Podolski, president of the Education for Democracy Foundation [/srodtytul]
Mr Podolski is responsible for spreading knowledge of democracy, free market economy and civic activities in a democratic country. The foundation was set up at the end of the '80s thanks to cooperation between Polish and American educators. Its first task is to provide support for teachers, educators, NGOs and activists from trade unions, youth and local authorities organisations in Poland and other Central European countries. However, foundation activists also want to support local communities in Poland and outside its borders to build a civic society. One of the goals included in the foundation’s articles of association includes initiating, supporting and conducting educational activities aimed at promoting the idea of democracy and preparing for work for the sake of democracy.
The foundation has also realised its programmes in Poland and Lithuania (since 1993), Latvia (since 1994), Belorus, Ukraine and Central Asia (since 1995), and in Mongolia, South Caucasus and Russia (since 1999).
[srodtytul]Leszek Balcerowicz, former Minister of Finance and President of the National Bank of Poland [/srodtytul]
A doctor of economic sciences and a politician, he was awarded the Order of the White Eagle and is a representative of the Monetarist economic school. Appreciated and hated for having enough courage to have conducted radical reforms, he led the economic transformation in Poland changing it from a country with a socialist planned economy to a country with a market economy. Within a year and a half he managed to combat hyperinflation, which he brought down from 685.8% in 1990 to 60%. He introduced a more realistic exchange rate for the zloty, made it exchangeable, introduced banking reform, balanced the national retail market and started fiscal and insurance reforms. He is now sixty years old. He was the first Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in the first non-communist government. He became Minister of Finance once again in 1997 and he held that post until 2000. In the years 2001 and 2006 he was the president of the National Bank of Poland. At present he is a lecturer at the Warsaw School of Economics and also lectures at universities all around the world.
Günter Verheugen, EU Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry