On 23 November 2020, Polish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Robert Biedroń of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“On 18 November, Poland’s Minister of Finance, Funds and Regional Policy informed the Marshal of Mazowieckie Province in writing that EU funding allocated until now under the Regional Operational Programme by the Mazowieckie authorities to Warsaw and surrounding districts would be transferred to funds allocated centrally by the Government. In practice, this means cutting off the capital and the surrounding districts from EU funding for much-needed investments, such as in cycle paths, thermal renovation of buildings, expansion of the sewage system, replacement of coal furnaces, building nursery schools and upgrading playgrounds. To date, funding under the Regional Operational Programme has accounted for around 30% of investment spending by local authorities. Without it, many investments will be stopped. Support under national programmes such as POIR, POWER and POPC to which these funds are to be transferred does not cover this type of investment. The Minister’s decision is contrary to the principles of subsidiarity, sustainable development, stability and community building.
Please could the Commission answer the following questions:
1. Is the Commission aware of the action being taken by the Polish Government in this regard?
2. Are such measures compatible with the rules governing the management of funds intended for allocation under the Regional Operational Programme?
3. Does the Commission intend to take action to preserve funding under the Regional Operational Programme for the city of Warsaw?”
On 2 February 2021, Cohesion and Reforms Commissioner Elisa Ferreira responded on behalf of the European Commission stating:
“1. The Commission was informed in November 2020 about the considerations of the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy to exclude the Warsaw NUTS II statistical region from support under the future regional programme for Mazowieckie. No formal confirmation from the Polish authorities regarding this issue, however, has been communicated to the Commission and the programming preparations are ongoing.
2. It is crucial, all the same, to ensure the continuation of support for investments typically financed under regional programmes (e.g., smaller-scale projects concerning sustainable local mobility, early education infrastructure etc.) in the nine municipalities surrounding Warsaw, which are not as developed in terms of socioeconomic indicators as the capital city itself. Furthermore, it would be important to continue supporting integrated territorial investments for Warsaw and surrounding municipalities, building on the experience of the current regional operational programme (ROP). The Commission and the Polish authorities will agree in the process of the programming preparations on a mutually satisfactory solution to ensure the above.
3. As regards the overall architecture of the 2021-27 Cohesion Policy programmes, the Commission will examine carefully the draft Partnership Agreement, not yet been submitted by the Polish authorities. As stated in Annex D, the Commission will aim for a better strategic coordination of programmes intervening in the same sector or geographical area. The Commission intends to continue discussions on the future support for the Mazowieckie region as a whole, taking into account the above elements with a view to ensure an effective delivery of cohesion policy support and building on the successful implementation of the current ROP.”
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