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IP/06/1677

Brussels, 4 December 2006

Danuta Hübner in Lower Silesia: "Innovation to boost competitiveness of Polish regions"

Regional policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner visited on 2 December Lower Silesia, a region in south-west Poland, to discuss the development opportunities for regions as detailed in the new European Cohesion Policy 2007-2013. Danuta Hübner met Lower Silesia Marshal Paweł Wróblewski, Wroclaw President Rafał Dutkiewicz, and Wrocław Technology University chancellor Tadeusz Luty. The Commissioner noted that Lower Silesia needs to build on the innovation capacity and effective partnerships between different stakeholders in order to boost competitive knowledge based economy. She also underlined the central role of cities in the economic and social development of the region.

"All parties have an important role to play in building innovation capacity of the economy. The close cooperation of universities, technology centres and innovative companies actively supported by public authorities is crucial for the competitiveness of the region" Danuta Hübner said.

The Commissioner had a series of meetings in Lower Silesia to discuss the priorities for the 2007-2013 programming period. The Commissioner welcomed the new regional development objectives aimed to boosting entrepreneurship and innovation, and the development of information society noting that these objectives are at the heart of EU's cohesion policy. She added that these priorities are in line with the "Lisbon" strategy for creating more growth and better jobs.

One of the main objectives of the regional operational programme is to support development of knowledge based economy in the region. To achieve this target regional authorities intend to support innovation development both through direct grants and financial engineering. Commissioner Hübner encouraged also the development of cooperation and exchange of information between entrepreneurs and universities and research and development centres.

The regional operational programme for Lower Silesia aims at the revitalisation of urban areas. Danuta Hübner noted that the European Union puts great emphasis on urban development as cities are engines of innovation and competitiveness. In particular the capital city of Wrocław has a key role to play in bringing innovation to the region through development of its own innovation capacity (including development of innovative clusters) as well as through attracting foreign direct investment focused on prospective industries. The Commissioner encouraged the use of the new urban development instrument JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas) as it provides great opportunity for cities in terms of financing and managing integrated urban development plans.

During the meeting at the Wrocław Technology University, Commissioner Hübner visited several innovative projects in the fields of research infrastructure and transfer of knowledge developed by the University. The presentation of these projects was followed by exchange of views with researchers and entrepreneurs. The projects were examples of fruitful cooperation between the academic society, public authorities and the private sector. The Commissioner noticed that limited resources need to be supported in the best possible way with measures available under Cohesion Policy.

The financial allocation for Lower Silesia for 2004 – 2006 in the framework of Integrated Regional Operational Programme co-financed from both European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund amounts to € 223 million. The envisaged European Union contribution to regional programme in the next seven years amounts to some € 1.2 billion, of which more than € 110 million will be directly dedicated to innovation. Resources available under the national programme "Innovative economy" will account for over € 7 billion (for the whole of Poland).
Further information about European Regional Policy available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/index_en.htm


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