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Press release 26. 09. 2013, Sopot Can culture save the European economy?


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PRESS RELEASE 26.09.2013, Sopot

Can culture save the European economy?

Two worlds, two visions. ”Neither is culture part of the economy, nor is the economy part of culture”, said Zygmunt Bauman, sociologist and philosopher, at the European Forum for New Ideas in Sopot. ”What joins them is communication and education, argued Jonathan Mills, Director of the Edinburgh International Festival.

The debate entitled ”Can Culture Save the European Economy” was hosted by Paweł Potoroczyn, Director of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. The following took part: Zygmunt Bauman, sociologist and philosopher; Fruzsina Szep from Hungary and Jonathan Mills from Edinburgh, representing two of Europe’s largest festivals; and Wojciech Szpil, representing business financing culture and Chief Executive Officer of Totalizator Sportowy.

Most of the interlocutors agreed that culture is being referred to more and more frequently as a social communications channel and that it influences economic growth. They also concurred that culture stimulates the growth of creative industries: fashion, design and video games.

Professor Zygmunt Bauman expressed a completely different opinion. ”Culture is not suitable for rescuing the economy. It serves its own purposes, it is an important sphere which separates us from animals,” he said. Throughout the debate he stressed that culture creates alternatives, opens horizons and in future may play a very important role in Europe. In his opinion, culture on our continent could grow considerably if we were better able to share our heritage. Therefore he called for the foundation of a ”Library of Nations” patterned on the Library of Alexandria. This is what we should spend EU money on, he said.


Wojciech Szpil pointed out that business is financing culture more and more consciously. ”We are all seeking our roots and we have inherited the national heritage, and this is why it is so important to finance culture. Business understands this,” he stressed.

Wojciech Szpil mentioned the Culture Promotion Fund, administered by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, as an example of the financing of culture in Poland. Totalizator Sportowy transfers part of the takings from each game of numbers and lottery to this Fund. In this way, PLN 73 million was accumulated in the first half of 2013 alone, and over PLN 1 billion was accumulated over the past 10 years. This came as a positive surprise to Prof. Bauman. ”That is really impressive”, he said.

In answer to the host’s controversial question whether the world has gone mad and what is the ”fuel” for culture, all the speakers agreed: Creativity, diversity and ceaseless creation. They also stressed the role of the public administration, artists and business in deciding on what should be financed first.

The debate concluded that business and culture need each other.

Conclusions from the debate can be found on www.culture.pl

Partner of the panel was Totalizator Sportowy.



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The EUROPEAN FORUM FOR NEW IDEAS is an international congress of business communities with the participation of representatives of the world of science, culture and politics. It is organized by the Polish Confederation Lewiatan in cooperation with BUSINESSEUROPE, the City of Sopot, and Polish and international companies and institutions. This year’s third edition of EFNI will take place on 25-27.09.2013 in Sopot. The guiding theme of this year’s conference is “Where to now, Europe? How to renew the Old Continent? A Business Perspective”. www.efni.pl


Honorary patrons of EFNI 2013: The President of the Republic of Poland, President of the European Council and the European Parliament.
Institutional Partners: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Economic and Social Committee, and the Marshal’s Office of Pomerania Voivodship.
Strategic Partners: Orange Polska, PKN ORLEN S.A., the PZU Group, the Gazeta Prawna daily and Polish Television.
Partner of the Opening Gala: Bank Pekao SA
Main Partners: Bloomberg Businessweek Polska, Deloitte Polska, EESC – Employers’ Group, Energa Group, KPMG, City of Gdańsk, Polpharma, PGNiG SA, Provident Polska, Tesco Polska, Totalizator Sportowy
Supporting Partners: Bank Pocztowy, Forbes, Gazeta Giełdy Parkiet, Havas Worldwide Warsaw, Intermarché, MBA Manager, MetLife Amplico, Newsweek Polska, PGE Capital Group, Pomeranian Special Economic Zone, Puls Biznesu, Radio PiN, Wirtualna Polska, Radio TOK FM, Wprost
Knowledge Partners: Lech Wałęsa Institute Foundation, Liberté, THINKTANK, World Academy of Art and Science
Logistic Partners: Dell, Opel, L.Wałesa Airport, Gdańsk
Official Carrier: LOT Polish Airlines
Additional information from:

Zbigniew Maciąg, zmaciag@konfederacjalewiatan.pl, tel.: 604 589 080




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