Internal Policies and EU Institutions

Address by Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament, at the opening of the True Colours of Silesia exhibition

Brussels -
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today's exhibition is very important to me for two main reasons. First, as it is organised by Adam Gierek - a close colleague of mine from Silesia - and the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice, where I studied, later taught and conducted research.

The second reason is the exhibition's focus on Silesia's research and development potential. My home region has to face up to the challenge of being competitive, environment-friendly and innovative. As you will shortly see, Silesia is most certainly taking on this crucial challenge.

The Silesia Region is Poland's industrial heartland. I believe that, with the backing of the institutions and projects covered by this exhibition, it will continue to play that role in the future.
Owing to its rich coal deposits, our region has in the past often been referred to as 'Black Silesia'.  Today - and this is something that is worth stressing - it is becoming less and less black and ever more green, which is the region's 'true colour'. A green Silesia with its sights firmly set on the future.  

The economic future of Silesia, Poland and the EU as a whole lies in energy-saving technologies, environment-friendly solutions and knowledge-based industry. This is something that we in Silesia already know; after all, we have more enterprise and innovation centres than anywhere else in Poland. It is regions like ours that can make the new Europe 2020 strategy a success; that can drive smart, sustainable growth that will foster the inclusion of the broadest possible range of social groups.

For this to be possible, education and research need to be properly funded. We need to focus on the "golden triangle of knowledge" - research, education, innovation. In this area, work on the Eighth Framework Programme for Research is due to start in the near future. I had the privilege of being the rapporteur on the Seventh Framework Programme.  It has a record budget of close to EUR 54 billion, up by fully 60% on the funding provided for the sixth programme! This is an area in which savings would be counter-productive, as research spending is one of the main factors in wealth creation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank the organisers of today's event.  On their behalf, I would like to invite you to the seminar being held alongside the exhibition tomorrow.

I am sure that the exhibition will give you plenty to think about.

Thank you for your attention.