Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

August 22, 2007

Wroclaw for 2012 Expo?

Filed under: Money,Poland — Ivan @ 3:55 am

Will 2012 be the year when the southwestern city hosts both a football championships and the world?s most prestigious international trade fair?

Michal Kubicki reports

Some say it would be too much of a good thing… Wroclaw in south-western Poland is one of several Polish cities to host EURO 2012 football championship matches. It is also in the race to host the EXPO Exhibition in the same year. What are the challenges facing Wroclaw and the region in the run-up to these events?

In no other Polish city can one sense a mood of local patriotism comparable to that in Wroclaw, the fourth largest city in Poland, with a population of 650 thousand inhabitants and the picturesque location at the foot of the Sudety Mountains and on the banks of River Odra. Bohdan Jung of the Warsaw School of Economics, an advisor to the Wroclaw City Council?s EXPO task force, explains the unique character of the town.

On the one hand, it?s a city that?s been entirely resettled. It?s got a new population after World War Two. On the other hand, there?s this historical heritage from Germany days. Earlier back in history, this place was overrun by Austrians, Czechs, by Poles and Germans, so it?s a melting pot of cultures. The people who arrived in Wroc?aw were largely resettled from Poland?s eastern lands that were taken over by the Soviet Union after World War Two so they brought this sort of Eastern spirit into was by infrastructure a German city. This is a curious mix.?

Wroclaw is one of the most dynamically developing cities in the whole of Central Europe. In recent years it has attracted such companies as Siemens, Phillips, Volvo and Hewlett Packard. Why did they all come to Wroclaw? Bohdan Jung again.

?Because it?s a very young culture of relatively educated young people so the labour force is there and it?s a well educated labour force that is not terribly expensive by EU standards. I also wouldn?t underplay the importance of the human factor. There?s some continuity in the local government. It?s a place which is relatively free of political conflict and what I?ve seen in case of the EXPO is that all political parties work together around a certain goal ? just getting the EXPO.?

With its location in the heart of Europe and enjoying a strong international position, Wroclaw seems to stand a good chance to win the race. British journalist Duncan Rhodes who edits a website is confident that the city will not miss the chance.

?Certainly there?s going to be a ton of work but Wroc?aw is a forward thinking city. It?s proven itself that it can attract investors, can organize big events so there are signs for optimism. It?s going to be tremendous chance for Wroc?aw to showcase its charms to the rest of the world and grow in stature. I?m sure that they are not going to let this chance go by.?

The city authorities have recently launched a ?Come and settle in Wroclaw? campaign. It is targeted at those Poles who in recent years emigrated to EU countries such as Britain and Ireland in search of better opportunities. But there are also those who left Wroclaw for the capital of Warsaw some years ago and now think of going back. Agata Baran works in an investment bank.

?Five years ago there were not many opportunities for me. Now they?re rising. Companies are coming. They?re setting up their subsidiaries in Wroclaw more and more and even central headquarters. And so as soon as I?ve had enough experience and as soon as I?ve spotted some interesting opportunities in Wroc?aw I would definitely go back and when I have kids they will be raised in Wroclaw because it?s the best place to raise kids.?

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