In a wide ranging series of engagements, IBM Europe chairman Harry van Dorenmalen, joined by IBM Poland & Baltics CGM Anna Sienko. played a highly active role at the 2011 European Economic Congress staged in Katowice, Poland last week.
Speaking on a panel of high level politicians and business leaders Harry told the audience: "It's important for nations to build on fundamentals; efficient, open Government; strong investments in education and - increasingly important - an environment that supports an innovation agenda among Government, business and academia."
His comments met with a warm response from Jerzy Buzek, president of the European Parliament and honorary chairman of the EEC who described how Poland was attracting investment from companies like IBM because of a strong commitment to innovation. Harry described IBM's turnaround in the early 1990s and how the company used its difficult experience as a platform for wholesale transformation. He offered to host a pan-EU Smart Cities briefing during the forthcoming Polish presidency of the EU.
He also met with Antonio Tajani, vice president of the European Commission responsible for industry and entrepreneurship. "I see a great opportunity for technology to help here," Harry said. "Increasingly the world is being made up of complex 'systems of systems.' Not just business, but Government too. We need far greater interoperability among public systems. This means we need greater adoption of open standards so that no authority is locked into proprietary technology. Then we can really change the way the world works."
Harry went on to meet with Iveta Radicova, prime minister of Slovakia, and praised her for the increasing competitiveness of the Slovakian economy + I have no information that they have met finally . The prime minsters of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Croatia also took part in the congress which aimed to seek ways to further improve Europe's competitiveness,
Leading executives from a number of leading companies, including ArcelorMittal, ING, Opel and SABMiller also attended.
Harry also met with Janusz Lewandowski, EU Commissioner for Budget and Finance; the mayor of Katowice, Piotr Uszok and Nobel prize winner and former Poland president Lech Walesa.