Visiting Swedish companies

Yesterday I spent around twelve intensive hours in Zachodnio-Pomorskie region. Very informative hours indeed.

What did I do? The idea was very simple. Together with the Head of Business Sweden in Warsaw, Daniel Larsson, I was invited to visit Swedish companies and private sector representatives in Koszalin, Białogard and Rymań. The whole visit was organised in an excellent manner by Invest-Park Białogard.

We managed to visit three companies: Elfa, MPS and Above. One Technological Incubator - located in Białogard. Have two business meetings, one of them with the Scandinavian Business Club in the lovely Pałac w Rymaniu (now a hotel owned by Swedes). And on top of that the press conference. Very well spent time to say the least.

During the press conference I promised to convey my positive impressions from the company visits, showing clearly that very good business can be made and is made every day in this part of Poland. It is easy to do that. Everybody I talked to was very satisfied, not least with their own staff members – simply being an undispensable part of, and reason to, their success. In parallell the Swedish kind of management seemed to be very well received among the employees.

One additional observation – and I have made it several times during my recent company visits – is that “Swedish” and “Scandinavian” are trade marks that many companies often like to use because they are sending positive signals about dimensions like quality, ecology and social responsibility.

North Western Poland has a clear Scandinavian orientation, possibly growing. I heard it clearly during the Scandinavian Days in Szczecin early April, and it has effects in my own calendar. Monday morning I go there for the third time in two months. Then for the Forum Samorządowe in Kołobrzeg where I will say some introductory words and later take part in a panel discussion focusing on ten years of Polish EU membership.

I will be happy to do that - obviously highlighting the increasingly important role Poland is playing on the European scene. Enthusiasm and energy from Poland is clearly needed all over the union in these challenging times when the European project in itself is under attack – as was clearly shown in some of the results of the elections to the European Parliament last Sunday.

Back in Warsaw today’s programme took me to another conference (they are key elements in the life of  Ambassadors…). This time I had been asked by the excellent organisation “Nobody’s children” (Dzieci niczyje) to share experiences about support to fathers and fatherhood in Sweden, a theme extremely close to my heart, which I did – like I have done in these blogs several times before. More important probably was the participation of the Swedish expert Nils Pettersson (Men for gender equality) who this afternoon held a session about support groups for fathers. Additionally I listened with great interest to the presentation by Joanna Włodarczyk of research about Polish fathers (actually supported by Queen Silvia’s ”World Childhood Organisation”) where I i.a. noted the figures for Polish fathers taking parental leave (urlop rodzicielski), i.e. the leave when the father stays at home and the mother is at work. The first quarter this year 2600 of them. More men will follow their example eventually, I am quite sure. A long way to go but you need to start somewhere.

Tomorrow I will spend some time at Skwer Hoovera and the Scandinavian Day (inauguration 11.00). Kołobrzeg Monday – and then the huge celebration of 25 years of Polish democracy in Warsaw Tuesday-Wednesday. For me that means first of all meeting Minister Carl Bildt at the Airport and following his programme (Polish link:; Swedish link:

I will try to summarise my impressions in a new blog next weeks. I am definitely looking forward.

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