On 30 November 2017, the Siauliai Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts, in partnership with the European Commission, Siauliai District Municipality, Siauliai University and the EESC, held an international conference under the heading "Globalisation and Economic Patriotism: Dilemmas, Challenges and Possibilities" in Siauliai, Lithuania. Nearly 200 representatives from business, science, governmental bodies, local municipalities, social partnerships and other institutions attended the event. The European Economic and Social Committee's Employers' Group delegated three members of the group to the conference: Janusz Pietkiewicz, István Komoróczki and Pietro Francesco De Lotto.
How can economic patriotism be managed? Is globalisation a bad thing? What is the role of the EU, states and regions? How should we position ourselves among others? How do joint efforts help us to perform better? Aren't we too small to be patriots? Over the course of the conference, business men and women, scientists and foreign experts sought answers to these and other related questions. Most of the participants of the conference agreed on the inevitability of globalisation processes and tried to answer the question of how everyone could benefit from this process.
The main speakers and panel discussion participants included: Arnoldas Pranckevičius, Head of European Commission Representation in Lithuania; Prof. Jouke van Dijk, Groningen University, President of the European Regional Science Association (Netherlands); Remigijus Motuzas, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Lithuania to the Russian Federation; Rytis Dijokas, CEO of JSC Statga; Pietro Francesco De Lotto, representative of the European Economic and Social Committee's Employers' Group (Italy); Michael Horeth, Technical University of Kaiserlautern, researcher on private and economic law and intellectual property, industrial engineer (Germany).
Prof. Jouke van Dijk presented his study on the future and challenges of the future labour market. In his view, knowledge is the main factor that enables us to achieve economic growth. He also stressed the huge impact of migration. Ambassador Remigijus Motuzas outlined the problems in the relations between the EU and its eastern neighbour, Russia.
The EESC delegate Pietro Francesco De Lotto stressed the importance of understanding the current situation and the perception of changes in a competitive environment. He pointed out the need to assist civil society in shaping the right approach to changes.
Janusz Pietkiewicz stated that: "It was a very important and needed forum for exchanging experiences and information on the challenges, threats and opportunities. The necessity of revising many well-established beliefs and economic practices today seems as obvious as it is urgent and difficult. The economy is at a point which requires a radical change of approach to the technological revolution of the digital age. To avoid crises, dangers and catastrophes, both global and local, it is essential to understand the basic values generated during every human activity".
The conference was structured around three sessions. In addition to the plenary session where the main topics were discussed, there were also two panel sessions under the headings "Search for regional immunity" and "Competition on talents". The event took place in conjunction with the region's business exhibition, "Siauliai 2017", as well as other events for businesses, youth and community, thereby creating a synergy effect.