Territorial Cohesion: A new Input from Poland:



 

The Polish Presidency has begun with a strong input despite of the foul environment, dominated by the Schengen problems, intolerable unemployment levels, loss of leadership tackling climate change, and particularly by the crisis of the Eurozone, with rating agencies and markets undermining most sensitive European economies.

 

Polish Minister of Regional Development Elzbieta Bienkowska has clearly stressed her intention to “defend a policy useful to all European countries, not just the poor ones”. She had even referred to the French and British desire to sacrifice regional policy in favour of the CAP and the British rebate. She also showed her initial rejection to finance a Infrastructure Fund within the Cohesion Policy.

 

The Ministry has prepared a very ambitious programme with three main objectives:

  1. Efficient management of the negotiations of the regulations for Cohesion Policy after 2013 and achievement of consensus in selected areas.
  2. Strengthening the attributes of Cohesion Policy (integrated approach to development and results orientation) as the territorial development policy under the new EU economic governance system and EU 2020 Strategy.
  3. Raising the political profile of Cohesion Policy.

 

Poland wishes to strengthen the territorial dimension of the EU 2020 Strategy and other EU policies. Therefore, besides the main objectives, this Presidency aims at establishing a proper negotiation framework of the Multiannual Financial Framework and a review of the Financial Regulation, to discuss on the future of EU sectorial policies, a review of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea, the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, the Solidarity Fund, the ESPON Programme 2014-2020 and the Regulation for the EGTCs, amongst others, as well as developing the dialogue between Member States, European Institutions (including the Committee of the Regions) and the Associations of regions and municipalities in the field of territorial cohesion.

 

In this sense, plenty of activities have been planned during this Presidency: political summits, conferences and other events, including seminars, working groups and other type of meetings. The most relevant issues on the calendar are:

-          Conference on the Territorial Dimension of the ESF, Warsaw, 29-30 September

-          Conference on Effective Instruments for Territorial Development in Warsaw on 24-25 October

-          A meeting of Directors General on 3-4 November in Warsaw

-          A Conference on Integrated Approach to Development – a Key to Smart, Inclusive and Sustainable Europe, in Poznan, on 24 November

-          An Informal Meeting of Ministers in Poznan on 25 November

-          A Formal Meeting of Ministers responsible for Cohesion Policy within the General Affairs Council in Brussels on 16th December

 

You can find complete information in the website of the Polish Ministry of Regional Development:http://www.mrr.gov.pl/english/european_funds_2007_2013/presidency/schedule/strony/default.aspx

 

Already on 12 July, a meeting of the National Territorial Cohesion Contact Points (NTCCP) and Urban Development Group (UDG) took place in Warsaw, where different instruments and programmes, like URBACT or ESPON were discussed, and the following documents were presented:

-          How to strengthen the territorial dimension of “Europe 2020” and the EU Cohesion Policy (http://www.mrr.gov.pl/rozwoj_regionalny/Prezydencja/Documents/Background_report_territorial_dimension_of_EU2020_CP.pdf)

-          Background Report on the Urban Dimension of the Cohesion Policy (http://www.mrr.gov.pl/rozwoj_regionalny/Prezydencja/Documents/Background_Report_Urban_dimension_of_CP_final_21072011.pdf)

 

The AEBR intervened in this meeting to stress the need to take border regions stronger into account when tackling the European Territorial Agenda, as they are interfaces and necessary interlocutors to discuss the implementation of European measures across borders.

 

The interest in Interregional cooperation is a growing issue for many actors. Within the current period, a last call for projects is expected to be published at the end of 2011. Up to now, the thematic orientation of Interreg IV-C has been determined by the Lisbon Agenda and the EU 2020 Strategy, being most of the projects related to innovation and technology: Other frequent fields are SMEs and entrepreneurship, energy, transport networks and climate change. One of the problems detected by the direction of the program is the amount of energy devoted to the selection process (high number of applications) by the Interreg management workforce, and not enough to measure the impact of the projects. For the future, it is expected that more attention will be paid to long-term outcomes in order to illustrate the European added value within regional/local development processes, as well as the long-term impact in the lives of European citizens. Next programme should focus more on the thematic priorities of the EU 2020, but it should also include topics as governance and administrative capacity building.

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