Brussels, 26 June 2003
EU Cohesion Policy in Poland: negotiations on the 2004-2006 programmes will start on 27 June in Warsaw
The European Commission today announced the launch of the first round of negotiations with an accession country on future regional development programmes. Negotiations will start on 27 June in Warsaw with Poland. They will be dedicated to the Community Support Framework (CSF) and related Operational Programmes (OP) for the period 2004-2006. In a letter of 18 June, addressed to Jerzy Hausner, Polish Minister of Economy, Michel Barnier, Commissioner responsible for regional policy, set out the Commission's position on how Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund should be used in Poland.
In January-February 2003, Poland was the first accession country to submit to the Commission a full set of proposals on the basis of its National Development Plan 2004-2006.
In his letter Michel Barnier wrote: “As a result of the excellent work by your authorities, the Plan represents a good basis for the negotiations that lie ahead. It is very important that the European programmes in Poland are a success not only because of the clear needs that exist within the country but also because of the demonstration that it would provide of the added value of EU intervention in this field, as its institutions engage in difficult negotiations for a new generation of cohesion policies for the period after 2006. It is therefore all the more important that we reach an early agreement so that implementation on the ground can begin as soon as possible, taking into account that eligibility of expenditure under these programmes starts on 1 January 2004”.
€ 12.5 billion for growth and employment
Poland will be by far the largest recipient of Structural Funds and of the Cohesion Fund amongst the new Member States. The European Council in Copenhagen last December committed to Poland for the period 2004-2006 almost € 8.3 billion under the EU Structural Funds and some € 4.2 billion under the Cohesion Fund. This represents approximately 1.8% of Polish gross domestic product (GDP) for that period.
The overall objective of the funds is to increase growth and to create employment through investment. Through seven Operational Programmes, the Structural Funds will concentrate on the transport system including urban transport, on rural development, education, training, labour market policy, environment, the overall business environment and information society in a progressively knowledge based economy. The Cohesion Fund will concentrate on transport and environment infrastructures.
Poland has 16 regions. All regions are eligible for Objective 1 assistance as defined in Council regulation 1260/99 and confirmed in the Accession Treaty.
Aid from the Structural Funds in Poland will concentrate on Objective 1 « Development and structural adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind ».
In the case of Objective 1 funds, generally speaking, a Community Support Framework (CSF) describes the socio-economic context of the country or of the regions concerned, presents development priorities and objectives to be achieved, and envisages systems of financial management, monitoring, evaluation and control.
Then, Operational Programmes are adopted detailing the various priorities of a CSF at the level of regions or at the level of an individual development priority (Transport, Training, Support for businesses, etc.).
During the negotiations, the Commission will seek to ensure a high level of coordination between the Cohesion Fund and Operational Programmes.
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