INTERREG COOPERATION PROGRAMS – EUROPEAN INTEGRATION AT THE BASIS

INTERREG COOPERATION PROGRAMS – EUROPEAN INTEGRATION AT THE BASIS

Among the many benefits that result from Poland’s membership in the European Union, a very important place is occupied by the INTERREG programs, which for cross-border communities are the implementation of the idea of ​​a common, European home, in which divisions resulting from state borders are much less important than what can be jointly improved or built. The statistics of the Interreg cross-border programs implemented in 2014-2020 show that over 28,000 people have already participated in international education or training programs, almost 4,000 entrepreneurs have received support for international cooperation, over 4,000 meetings of local communities have been held, including: cultural events , music, festivities, study visits. There have been 600 renovated and fully accessible cultural or natural heritage sites, and more than 500 joint international operations by border, customs, rescue, police and fire departments. 3,269 kilometers of tourist routes have been added: new, modernized, and better marked. We have hundreds of kilometers of new or modernized roads in the borderlands, a lot of new specialized medical equipment and invaluable investments in the environmental protection.

 

The Interreg South Baltic Programme aims at unlocking South Baltic’s potential for blue and green growth through cross-border cooperation between local and regional actors from Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden. Building on the maritime character of the Programme, “blue growth” addresses the economic potential of the Baltic Sea for growth and jobs across the shores of the South Baltic. At the same time, “green growth” underlines the need to pursue the path of economic growth in balance with the environment, in particular by utilising South Baltic’s rich natural and cultural heritage in a sustainable and preserving manner.

 

Priority Axis 1: Strengthening international activeness and innovation capacity of the South Baltic blue & green economy

 

Specific Objective 1.1: Increase the presence of blue and green sector SMEs from the South Baltic area on international markets through joint cross-border actions

Specific Objective 1.2: Improve the transfer of innovation for the benefit of blue and green sector SMEs through joint cross-border actions

 

Priority Axis 2: Exploiting the environmental and cultural potential of the South Baltic area for blue and green growth

 

Specific Objective 2.1: Increased development of the South Baltic area’s natural and cultural heritage assets into sustainable tourist destinations

Specific Objective 2.2: Increased use of green technologies in order to decrease the pollution discharges in the South Baltic area

 

Priority Axis 3: Improving cross-border connectivity for a functional blue and green transport area

 

Specific Objective 3: Improve the quality and environmental sustainability of transport services in the South Baltic area

 

Priority Axis 4: Boosting human resource capacities for the area’s blue and green economy

 

Specific Objective 4: Increase the share of skilled labour force working in blue and green economy sectors of the South Baltic area through joint cross-border actions

 

Priority Axis 5: Increasing cooperation capacity of local actors

 

Specific Objective 5: Improve the cooperation capacity of local South Baltic area actors through participation in cross-border networks

The Programme provides co-financing from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for cooperation activities between two or more organisations from at least two participating Member States. The co-financing rate for Polish, Lithuanian and German beneficiaries is up to 85% of their eligible project costs, while Swedish and Danish beneficiaries receive up to 75% of ERDF co-financing. The ERDF co-financing is paid on the basis of semi-annual reimbursements.

The total budget of the program for 2014-2020 is almost EUR 103 million, of which about EUR 83 million comes from the European Regional Development Fund, and the national contribution is about EUR 20 million. The funds can be used to implement mainly two types of projects: regular projects with a budget of EUR 1-2 million and small-scale projects with a recommended budget of up to EUR 300,000. euro. 91 projects were selected in the program, which completely consumed the available financial resources. Most projects, as many as 29 (and 9 seed projects) received co-financing under the second priority axis.

More at www.southbaltic.eu

The EU Interreg Poland-Slovakia program has been supporting cross-border cooperation for many years, responding to common needs on both sides of the border. Co-financing from the European Regional Development Fund is aimed at joint initiatives in the field of preserving cultural and natural heritage, sustainable transport, and education. 87 projects received co-financing in the years 2014-2020.

 

During this period, we have built or modernized over 2,400 tourist trails and restored over 80 cultural heritage sites. We have modernized 150 km of roads. Over 8,000 participants have benefited from over 200 educational initiatives and joint training. The budget of the Program is 210 million EUR and includes 178.6 million EUR of EU funds. Since 2004, as part of the cross-border cooperation between Poland and Slovakia, we have completed nearly 2,000 joint projects worth over 400 million EUR.

 

This year, the third edition of the Interreg Poland-Slovakia program will be launched. The program will continue to build bonds between communities on both sides of the border. In addition, the reconstruction of the region in the post-pandemic period will be an important aspect of developing joint local and regional initiatives. We will continue investments in the areas of natural and cultural heritage, tourism, and transport. In addition, we will focus on environmental protection and cooperation between institutions and residents.  More at pl.plsk.eu

 

The INTERREG Co-operation Programme Poland – Saxony 2014-2020 supports cross-border initiatives in the southern part of the German-Polish borderland. On the Polish side, the Program is being implemented in the Western part of the Dolnośląskie voivodeship (Jelenia Góra subregion) and Lubuskie voivodeship (Żary district) as well as the districts of Görlitz and Bautzen in the Free State of Saxony (Germany). 70 million euros from the European Regional Development Fund have been allocated for the implementation of the Programme.

The projects must be carried out by partner institutions from each country and contribute to one of the following priorities:

  1. Common natural and cultural heritage
  2. Regional mobility
  3. Cross-border education
  4. Enhancing partnerships and institutional capacities

The EU contribution for the projects can reach up to 85% of the eligible expenditures of the project.

Until now 38 regular and flagship projects have been finalized and 24 further projects are on-going. Moreover, 246 small projects (up to 30 thousand euros) have beenfinished, and other 100 small projects are still being implemented.

More at www.plsn.eu

 

Poland also participates in many other INTERREG Programs. There is a huge potential behind them, probably still not fully used. Across Europe, INTERREG currently has over 100 territorial cooperation programs. Their structures allow for an immediate impact from the European level to the local and regional level. Importantly, the programs allow not only to include even the most distant cities or communities from each EU country in important European policies. Partnerships also allow the use of resources and experiences of the foreign partners.

 

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CROSS-BORDER COOPERATION PROGRAMS AT THE EASTERN BORDER OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

 

Among the many benefits that result from Poland’s membership in the European Union, territorial cooperation programs occupy a very important place, thanks to which border regions of Poland can also cooperate with partners from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, and the stabilization in this part of the continent seems invaluable from today’s perspective . These programs are quite far away from political turmoil, they focus more on improving the quality of life of local communities, but they also have an invaluable impact on the perception of the neighbor who lives on the other side of the European Union border. For cross-border communities, joint projects can also be the realization of the idea of ​​a common, European dimension, so that the divisions resulting from national borders are not more important than what can be improved or built together.

 

Within the Poland-Russia CBC Program 3 Large Infrastructure Projects are being implemented, which were selected for funding in a non-competitive procedure and approved by the Joint Monitoring Committee in March 2018. The projects concern the construction of a new route of the voivodeship road No. 512 along with the construction of a bridge over the Lyna River in Bartoszyce, the development of tourist and recreational potential and water tourism in the cities of Svetly and Malbork and cross-border cycle routes for promotion and sustainable use of cultural heritage. The total amount of co-financing received by Large Infrastructure Projects is EUR 15.88 million. Within the Program also 28 regular projects were contracted, which were selected as a result of the first call for proposals organized in 2018. Co-financing under the “Heritage” priority was received by 16 regular projects for a total amount of EUR 25.06 million. The Joint Monitoring Committee approved also 10 regular projects under the thematic objective “Environment”, the total value of which is EUR 16.81 million. Co-financing under the priority “Accessibility” was received by 4 regular projects for a total amount of EUR 8.19 million.

Within the activities will be carried out under the projects selected within “Heritage” related to infrastructure works in museums, castles and historical buildings, preparation and arrangement of new exhibitions and renovation of two historic ships. Also many projects are related to the revitalization of parks and the construction of bicycle roads and pedestrian paths.

Projects implemented under “Environment” mostly concern water and sewage management – sewage treatment plants and water pumping stations will be constructed or renovated, water and sewage networks will be built or modernized. In addition, 3 fire brigades will purchase new equipment and specialized vehicles. As part of the implemented projects two hospitals wards will be renovated and equipped with new specialized equipment.

Projects implemented under “Accessibility” will contribute to the improvement of the road system and safety of the road users. As part of the implemented activities, new roads are built along with the necessary infrastructure and sections that did not meet safety standards were renovated. In addition to infrastructure and investment tasks, the projects implement activities aimed at strengthening cross-border cooperation and facilitating people-to-people contacts. They are organized i.a. joint trainings, workshops and conferences involving partners on both sides of the border.

More at www.plru.eu

Sołdek – Museum ship, the first ship built in Poland after the war, as part of a project co-financed by the Poland-Russia Cross-Border Cooperation Program, has been renovated and a permanent exhibition has been created.

 

Cross-border Cooperation Programme Poland-Belarus-Ukraine 2014-2020 supports projects based on cooperation, exchange of knowledge and experiences between institutions located along the Polish-Belarusian and Polish-Ukrainian borders. All projects are co-funded by the European Union, have non-profit character and aim at better life quality of inhabitants of border regions of Poland, Ukraine and Belarus.

Beneficiaries can be awarded grants that can represent up to 90% of the total project costs. Projects focus on eight priorities, including historical and cultural heritage, natural heritage, accessibility, health, safety, and borders. In total, the Program now supports over 160 projects (including Large Infrastructure Projects, Regular Projects and Micro-projects). Over 400 institutions and organizations from three countries are involved in their implementation. As part of Heritage, which brings together the most numerous group of projects, the Program saves and promotes monuments and local traditions. New, interesting hiking, biking and canoeing routes as well as cultural and tourist information centers are being created. The old town in Lutsk has gained a completely new face, in Sokółka you can already see the restored tenement house of Antoni Tyzenhauz, you can go by bike on the “Tyzenhauz Trail” route. There are plenty of interesting examples. Some projects are devoted to promoting local cuisine and culinary traditions. Also projects aimed at preserving the values ​​of the natural environment, for example, the project “Clean river – the main priority”. The largest tributary of the Bug on the Belarusian side is the Mukhavets River, which flows through Żabinka. Unfortunately, the sewage treatment plant in the city was old and ineffective. On the Polish side, individual farms discharged wastewater without treatment to nearby Krzna and Czapelka, which led to serious threats to the cleanliness of drinking water and the environment (“Podlaski Przełom Bugu” Landscape Park, “Brzeski” and “Niepokojczyce” reserves). Belarusian the beneficiary will build a new sewage treatment plant in Żabinka. A new sanitary sewage system with a length of over 4 km is under construction on the Polish side. The program is also a great support for medical institutions (e.g. it allocates savings to co-finance medical projects up to 100%), as well as for fire brigades and mountain rescuers. It finances the purchase of modern equipment and the organization of training. The program also modernizes road communication routes and ensures border security.

Cultural event within the “New life of the old city: revitalization of monuments of historical and cultural heritage of Lutsk and Lublin” project.

More at www.pbu2020.eu

 

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