Competitiveness Conference 2015

Competitiveness – A Word without Meaning? International Conference


International Conference | Bratislava | November 25, 2015

Improving competitiveness is an evergreen phrase of political debates. However, competitiveness of many national economies in the EU has been on the decline for a number of years and EU as a whole seems to be lagging behind the U.S. and Asia. The conference aims to switch words without meaning to a focused business talk. What are the real-life steps in improving competiveness, how to identify the best practices across Europe and most importantly – how to implement them fast & effective?




Official Welcome by Jürgen Martens, Member of Board, European Liberal Forum, and Richard Durana, Director, INESS
13:00 - 13:10

Panel I

(International Expert Panel)
13:10 - 14:40

  • Welfare state and competitiveness, can they coexist?

  • Reforms in times of crisis

  • Brussels’ red tape vs. national red tape

  • Eastern Europe: daring reforms, constipated institutions

  • Examples of successful reforms

  • Reforms: How to sustain government change

  • Ideas and reality: Encountering obstacles

Panel II

(Local Political Panel)
15:00 - 17:30

  • Reform proposals for Slovakia

  • How to enforce contracts effectively

  • Slovakia as a technology leader in private and public sector

  • Questions from audience

Working languages : English and Slovak (simultaneous interpreting)

Video (English) | Video (Slovak)

Raoul Ruparel | Open Europe
Labour market flexibility and efficiency aiding the UK’s economic recovery
Power Point Presentation
Video (English) | Video (Slovak)

Aristides Hatzis | University of Athens
The three conditions for a competitive country
PDF Presentation
Video (English) | Video (Slovak)

Martin Ågerup | CEPOS
The case of Denmark: 30 years of structural reform
Power Point Presentation
Video (English) | Video (Slovak)

Žilvinas Šilénas | LFMI
Competitiveness = attractiveness + resilience
Power Point Presentation
Video (English) | Video (Slovak)

Ivan Mikloš | former Minister of finance, Slovakia Competitiveness - how to raise it and why is it difficult.

Video (English) | Video (Slovak)

Radovan Ďurana | INESS

Miroslav Beblavý | Member of parliament | SIEŤ

Igor Matovič | Chairman | OĽaNO

Ján Hudacký | Vice-chairman | KDH

Ivan Švejna | Vice-chairman | Most-Híd

Eugen Jurzyca | Member of parliament | SaS

Jozef Kollár | Member of parliament | SKOK

Political panel 1st half. Video (Slovak)

Political panel 2nd half. Video (Slovak)


Martin Ågerup


Martin Ågerup is president and CEO of Centre for Political Studies (CEPOS), an independent Think Tank based in Copenhagen, Denmark. He is Bachelor of Science in Economics and Economic History from the University of Bristol and MA in Economics from the University of Exeter. He is a former research fellow at the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies and former president of the Danish Academy for Futures Studies.

Martin has worked as a speaker, columnist and consultant before co-founding CEPOS in 2004. He has authored and co-authored several bestselling Danish books about a broad range of issues, including global business trends and the environment. Martin has appeared in all major Danish electronic media and is one of the most cited opinion leaders in Danish print media. Internationally, his articles have appeared in Washington Journal Europe and the Daily Telegraph.

Radovan Ďurana


Radovan Ďurana is co-founder and member of INESS. He completed the Faculty of Management at Comenius University in Bratislava with focus on financial management. Before his work at INESS, he was employed in commercial financial institution abroad. He focuses on public finance, taxation, social and pension system and is author of various studies in these fields. Except of his work at INESS he is also a fellow of IREF networks.

Ivan Mikloš

Former Minister of finance

Ivan Mikloš is former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Slovak Republic (2002-2006, 2010-2012), Deputy Prime Minister for Economy (1998-2002), Minister of Privatization (1991-1992). He co-founded and led a think-tank MESA10 (1992-1998). During 2006-2010 and from 2012 he is a Member of Parliament. In 2014 he was appointed as a President of MESA 10 and became a member of the International Advisory Board of National Reform Council of Ukraine and VoxUkraine. From February 2015 he serves as a Chief Advisor to the Minister of Finance of Ukraine and as an Advisor to the Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine.

He was one of the leading figures of economic transformation in Slovakia. Ivan Mikloš significantly contributed to the entry of the Slovak Republic into the OECD and started an extensive and effective tax reform. He led the government agenda on economic restructuring and fiscal consolidation. The second Dzurinda´s government (2002-2006) gained a very reformist reputation thanks to severe austerity measures and a comprehensive program of structural reforms (tax, social sector, pension, healthcare, public finance, labour market) backed by Ivan Mikloš. Thanks to these reforms Slovakia was able to join Eurozone in 2009. In 2004 he was awarded by Euromoney the best Minister of Finance of the Year and the top business reformer by the World Bank´s Doing Business report. Ivan Mikloš is the author of the Book of reforms (2005), Rewriting the Rule (2001) and also of dozens of studies and articles in the expert and popular press.

Igor Matovič


Igor Matovič is a Slovak politician, entrepreneur, and a member of the National Council. He graduated in Financial Management at Comenius University. At the 2010 election he became a member of parliament on the Freedom and Solidarity (SAS) list. He sat in the SaS caucus until February 2011, when he supported the opposition Smer's proposed restrictions on dual nationality. In 2012 he got into the parliament as the leader of Ordinary People and Independent Figures (OĽANO).

Eugen Jurzyca

Member of parliament

Eugen Jurzyca serves in the National Council of the Slovak Republic and is a member of parliamentary Freedom and Solidarity party (SaS).

In the early 1990s he was a member of the panel at the OECD in Kiev, Ukraine and at the European Commission "Baltic Booster Conference". Later on he joined a panel at OECD seminars for competition in Almaty, Kiev and Istanbul. Further positions include serving as consultant for the World Bank and a member of the Government Economic Council.

Jurzyca was elected to the National Council of the Slovak Republic. Soon after, he was selected to be Minister of Education. He is co-founder and ex-director of Slovak economic think tank INEKO.

Ivan Švejna


Ivan Švejna is a member of Mont Pelerin Society and the President of The Slovak Taxpayers Association. He was responsible for the initiation of the Second Pillar of Pension Savings in Slovakia. He worked as Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Social Security at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Family in the Slovak republic. Since 2009 he is a vice-chairman of the Most-Híd Party and since 2010 he is also a MP in the National Council of the Slovak Republic. He is one of the co-founders of F. A. Hayek Foundation.

Raoul Ruparel

Open Europe

Raoul Ruparel is Co-Director at Open Europe. He is also a contributing author for Forbes, where he write on EU issues; the Eurozone crisis; central banking and macroeconomics.

Over the past years Raoul has been at the forefront of analysing crucial issues around Europe. He has led Open Europe’s research into the Eurozone crisis, helping to advise governments and corporations on how to deal with the crisis as well as the potential institutional and regulatory response. Raoul has been heavily involved in the economic and financial analysis of the evolving crisis in Ukraine, and the ensuing sanctions placed on Russia. He has also worked extensively on issues relating to EU trade and economic prosperity, as well as the economic impacts of hot political topics such as migration.

On top of his regular articles for Forbes, Raoul is a frequent contributor to the broadcast and print media including, CNBC, Bloomberg, BBC and Sky as well as the FT, WSJ and the Times. Raoul holds two masters degrees in economics and public policy from the University of Chicago and a BA in economics and politics from the University of Manchester. Prior to joining OE, Raoul gained work experience at financial firm Habibbank AG Zurich.

Aristides Hatzis

Associate Professor
University of Athens

Aristides is an Associate Professor of Law & Economics and Legal Theory at the University of Athens with a doctorate on Law & Economics from the University of Chicago. He is an attorney-at-law and a member of the Thessaloniki Bar Association since 1992 and of the American Bar Association since 1994. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Society of European Contract Law (SECOLA), the Steering Committee of the European Network for Better Regulation (ENBR) and the Editorial Board of the European Review of Contract Law. He is also a fellow of the European Law Institute and a member of the scientific board of the Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP).

In early 2014 he was appointed to the National Council for Research & Innovation, the supreme advisory body of the Greek government for the formulation of the Research, Technology and Innovation policy. He is the recipient of several fellowships and awards and his papers have been published in such journals as the International Review of Law & Economics, European Journal of Law & Economics, Commentaries in Law & Economics, Revue de Philosophie Economique, etc. and in international collective volumes.

He has refereed papers for over 20 journals and he has taught as Visiting Professor in several Greek, European and North-American universities. He is the co-editor of Law and Economics: Philosophical Issues and Fundamental Questions (Routledge, 2015). His op-eds have been published by the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, the CNBC and other major international and Greek media. He has also given interviews to major international media outlets: Bloomberg News, Economist, Euronews, BBC, Financial Times, Guardian, Spiegel, U.S. National Public Radio, Time, Voice of America, Belgian State TV, Finish State TV, Swedish State Radio, etc.)

Žilvinas Šilėnas


Žilvinas Šilėnas joined the Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI) in 2006, after graduating from Wesleyan University in Connecticut in 2005. He became president of LFMI in 2011. His field of analysis at LFMI encompasses energy, transport and competition policies. Žilvinas participated in several high-level working groups of legislation of energy, was a member of working groups of “Sunset” (reform and closing down government agencies), and “Sunrise” (cutting red tape, improving conditions for businesses) commissions for the Lithuanian government. Žilvinas has also worked as a teacher of Economics and an adviser to a CEO of an energy company.

Miroslav Beblavý


Jozef Kollár

Member of parliament

Jozef Kollár is a Slovak economist, former businessman, currently a Member of the Executive Board of the political party SKOK! (Slovak Civic Coalition Party). He completed his postgraduate studies in banking at the Graduate School of Banking University of Wisconsin and the Graduate School of Banking, Oklahoma City University, USA.

In the past, he was a director of The National Economy and Foreign Exchange Analyzes department of the Czechoslovak State Bank, where he managed a team responsible for compiling the balance of payments methodology, programs convertibility of the local currency (Czech crowns) and preparing the Foreign Exchange Act. He was a member of the team responsible for the set up of the Slovak Stock Exchange in Bratislava and he led the team responsible for drafting a law on the National Bank of Slovakia.

Ján Hudacký


Ján Hudacký is a Slovak politician and member of the European Parliament with the Christian-Democratic party, part of the European People's Party and sits in the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy.

He is a substitute for the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, a member of the Delegation for relations with Mercosur and a substitute for the Delegation for relations with Switzerland, Iceland and Norway and to the European Economic Area (EEA) Joint Parliamentary Committee.

Organised by:


INESS -  Institute of Economic and Social Studies is a non-governmental and apolitical independent think tank in Bratislava, Slovakia. INESS monitors the functioning and financing of the public sector, evaluates the effects of legislative changes on the economy and society, conducts in-depth analyses and drafts reform proposals, and comments on current economic and social issues. It is the most frequently quoted Slovak economic think tank in broadcast and print media.


Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom - It aims to promote the goal of making the principle of freedom valid for the dignity of all people and in all areas of society. With the safeguarding and the development of its statutory projects (civic education and dialogue, sponsorship of the talented, research and political consultation, archive-work), the Friedrich Naumann Foundation wants to contribute to shaping the future.

ELF - The European Liberal Forum is the foundation of the European Liberal Democrats. Core aspect of its activities consists in issuing publications, providing a space for the discussion of European politics, and  training for liberal-minded citizens. ELF aim is to promote active citizenship.

Neither the European Parliament nor the European Liberal Forum are responsible for the content of the programme, or for any use that may be made of it. The views expressed herein are those of the speaker(s) alone. These views do not necessarily reflect those of the European Parliament and/or the European Liberal Form asbl.


Hotel Saffron, Školská 5, 811 07 Bratislava, Slovakia

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