More than 200 industry executives followed the presentation of MESA10 Senior Fellow Milan Jezovica at a special session of the 46th annual PRIMA Conference of the European paper and packaging industry. The session featured the report “Central Europe fit for the future” published by CEPI and demosEUROPA upon the input of High Level Reflection Group of which Milan Jezovica was a member.

The aim of the session chaired by CEPI Director Milan Nic was to outline a future-oriented agenda for business and governments in this region. Closer regional cooperation, connections in energy and transport infrastructure across Central Europe as well as investment into education, research and development would strengthen the region as well as Europe in competitiveness and its resilience vis-à-vis external shocks.

Central Europe is among the most dynamic and fastest growing regions in Europe. Its leap in terms of consumption levels and living standards in the last two decades has been tremendous, so had been its contribution to the European Union. To continue in its dynamic development, the region must answer the present and future calls. The countries of Central Europe are faced with the challenge of finding new keys to growth and dynamic modernization. Old growth models based on low-cost advantages are becoming obsolete. The governments in Central Europe need to improve cross-border connectivity and infrastructure, move towards larger regional markets, encourage innovation, facilitate transition into digital economy and continue in bold structural reforms. At the same time, new risks such as aging population, geopolitical instability and external challenges to EU political model are looming on the horizon. Central Europe’s dynamism will depend upon its ability to address these major challenges and to create new opportunities.