Masovia and Greater Warsaw speak with one voice
Local government bodies are preparing for the next round of competition for EU funds for the future operational programmes. Rafał Trzaskowski, Mayor of Warsaw, and Adam Struzik, Marshal of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship, opted for a single operational programme for the Mazowieckie Voivodeship consisting of two components.
“As local government officials from Greater Warsaw, we want to cooperate and take joint responsibility for the development of our region. We would like to be involved in each stage of developing strategic and operational documents for the new financial perspective of the European Union based on a realistic and sensible schedule,” said Rafał Trzaskowski, Mayor of Warsaw, and added, “We appeal for the inclusion in the draft National Regional Development Strategy measures supporting the development of voivodeship cities and their metropolitan areas.”
In the European Union work is underway on the new budget to be available after 2020. In May 2018 the European Commission presented draft multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027 and the primary regulations of the cohesion policy. The negotiations and comments submission process began, i.a. within the work of the Committee of the Regions.
Already then, the authorities of Masovia and Warsaw pointed out that the division of funds and the determination of rules for the years 2021-2027 for Masovia should take into account the new statistical division (valid as of January 2018) into two regions. This is the only way for the Voivodeship to receive more funding. In February Eurostat published data on the development of EU regions. The presented information contained separate data for the regions: the Warsaw capital region, including Warsaw and its nine surrounding districts, and the Mazowieckie region, accounting for the rest of the Voivodeship. As can be noted, there are grounds for creating separate rules for allocating EU funds. Last week the councillors of the Masovia appealed to the Government of the Republic of Poland for it to commence negotiations with EU authorities on this matter. It’s time for Government officials and MEPS to support the efforts of local government bodies.
The position of local government bodies on the new EU perspective
The Voivodeship’s boundaries did not change. Warsaw remains the capital of the region. The city’s cooperation with the surrounding districts has continued for years. Under the current operational programme, Warsaw and 39 neighbouring communes are implementing Integrated Territorial Investments from EU funds.
“This approach should be the basis for the continued use of EU funding. Only a single joint programme can solve infrastructural challenges we are still facing, both with the use of EU and domestic funds, e.g. in transport, especially in the area bordering with both our internal regions,” Marshal Adam Struzik pointed out.
On 29 March during the Forum for Masovia – Masovia in Europe after 2020, strong claims were made to include the position of local government authorities in the preparation process of the National Regional Development Strategy (i.a. through including Warsaw with the neighbouring districts as a Strategic Intervention Area) and the programming of the future EU financial perspective. The goal is to direct governmental and EU interventions where they are actually needed.
Taking into consideration the next allocation of EU funds, it is very important for the Warsaw capital region to receive appropriate support both from EU and national funds.
One programme – one approach
On 29 March the Marshal of the Voivodeship Adam Struzik and Mayor of Warsaw Rafał Trzaskowski signed The position paper on the joint operational programme for the Mazowieckie Voivodeship covering the Warsaw capital region and the Mazowieckie Region. The document expresses the readiness of local government bodies for the new EU perspective, and a joint appeal to take the position of local government bodies into account. As emphasised, the division of Masovia into separate NUTS 2 units is of a statistical nature, and Masovia remains a single administrative region. Changes can be observed only in measures created separately for each region: the Warsaw capital region and the Mazowieckie Region. The aim is the optimum use of EU funds in order to reduce differences in the living conditions in the Voivodeship. This way EU funds will be allocated with an even more careful consideration of local needs. A single programme with two components corresponding to the two NUTS 2 units still means joint partnership projects. For the new capital city region it is crucial to receive substantial support from the Cohesion Fund for transport and environmental protection projects, to implement a mechanism compensating for a considerable loss of structural fund allocations as compared to the current EU perspective, and to secure the funding of the major investments for which the Voivodeship government is responsible, such as concluding the “contract for Warsaw and Greater Warsaw” defining specific priority projects and detailed sources of their funding.
Part of Masovia to be included in Eastern Poland
The recent Eurostat data clearly show that the GDP per capita in the new Warsaw capital region in 2017 constituted 152% of the EU average, while in the Mazowieckie Region only 59%. The disproportion between the two parts of the Voivodeship is the largest in the country and one of the greatest in Europe. Part of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship is among the poorest and not the richest regions of the country and Europe. This is why the councillors have recently made an appeal for covering the Mazowieckie Region in the Eastern Poland Operational Programme (EP OP). GDP indicators per capita in selected regions covered by the Eastern Poland Programme are higher than, e.g., in the Radom Subregion, whose GDP in 2016 was only 67.8% of the national average, while in the Olsztyn Subregion it reached 80.2%, the Białystok Subregion – 82.1%, the Lublin Subregion – 92.1% and the Kielce Subregion – 67%. All the mentioned subregions are covered by EP OP.
“We will never be able to reduce the disproportions between Warsaw and the rest of the Voivodeship if the region will not be able to receive additional support similar to that granted to Podlasie, Lubelskie, Warmia and Mazury or the Kielce Regions,” Deputy Marshal Wiesław Raboszuk concluded.
Greater Warsaw is using EU funds efficiently
Already in the current multiannual EU budget a special pool of funds has been allocated to Integrated Territorial Investments, which the local government bodies of Greater Warsaw are eagerly using for developing aspects important for the residents, such as public transport, education, and economic development. These funds enable closer cooperation between Warsaw and the agglomeration’s communes utilising their potential and assets to the fullest. As part of the Integrated Territorial Investments in Greater Warsaw, local authorities have signed agreements for EU funding worth over PLN 590 million. This money will help i.a. provide additional places in nursery schools, bike paths, and P&R facilities.
Greater Warsaw has an action plan
The City of Warsaw is ready to take up the role of the leader of the Warsaw capital region. “Last year all communes and districts of Greater Warsaw gathered to create The strategic action plan for Greater Warsaw, where we outlines the priority development goals,” said Michał Olszewski, Deputy Mayor of Warsaw, and added, “As part of our programme work on the new EU financial perspective we will verify them in terms of EU funding options, taking into account that not all of our goals will be funded by the EU.”
The action plan for Greater Warsaw will be of assistance in strategic decisions and daily activities keeping Greater Warsaw in balance. The goals are to develop a smart integrated collective transport and roads network, to create a green metropolis, to provide attractive ways of spending free time, to create conditions for business development and investment, and to provide state-of-the-art social services. The main proposed types of projects include local urban mobility projects (bike paths, P&R), a package of educational measures, improvement of air quality, and revitalisation activities.