Polish-Belarusian-Ukrainian cooperation across borders
The representatives of 14 border regions participating in the Poland-Belarus-Ukraine Programme met in Bukovel, Ukraine. The Conference was chaired by the Deputy Minister of Development, Adam Hamryszczak. They summarised existing cross-border cooperation of the three countries, also, the first call for applications to the new edition of the programme was announced. The partners from Poland, Belarus and Ukraine may apply for a total of as much as EUR 80.17 million. The competition will begin on 11 October and will last until 31 December 2016.
- The interest in the implementation of joint projects is very high, as evidenced by the number of registered initial concepts of projects. Out of nearly 850 concepts, the largest number has been submitted by Ukraine. Therefore, it is no accident that in this country, together with the representatives of all border regions, we officially summarised the results of the 2007-2013 programme and presented the opportunities offered by its new edition - informed the Deputy Minister of Development, Adam Hamryszczak.
Effects of cooperation
In the years 2007-2013, the Ministry of Development signed 117 agreements for a total amount of support of more than EUR 174 million. Cooperation projects on the eastern border of the EU have resulted in many important investment projects, which allowed to create more than 460 new jobs:
• 5 border crossings were created or modernised (Połowce, Pieszczatka, Dołhobyczów, Budomierz, Bruzgi);
• 116 km of new roads were built, inter alia, in the Hrubieszów Poviat, Płaska Gmina, Bieszczady Poviat, Mońki Poviat, Rossosz Gmina and in Belarus (Stradec) and Ukraine (Luchichi, Yakushiv, Zabrody);
• 5 wastewater treatment plants were modernised or build, for example, in Hanna, Hajnówka, and in Belarus (Kamenets) and Ukraine (Shatsk);
• more than 90 km of drainage systems were built;
• more than 2,360 households and offices were connected to the water supply system;
• health care institutions received additional equipment;
• many tourist attractions were refurbished (e.g. revitalisation of the spa park in Horyniec Zdrój, the amphitheatre in Polańczyk and the ethnographic villages in the vicinity of Suwałki; modernisation of the historic part of Lubaczów, zoological gardens in Zamość and renovation of the ethnographic museum in Hudzyevichy, Belarus);
• more than 1,800 km of new walking and cycling trails were marked up;
• 186 joint research projects were conducted.
New edition of the programme
The perspective 2014-2020 creates another opportunity of developing with the Poland-Belarus-Ukraine Programme. Joint ventures may apply to the conservation and promotion of historic heritage and local culture. Priority is also given to improving the quality and safety of existing communication links and the development of low-carbon transport systems. Financial support may also be granted to projects aimed at faster customs clearance at border crossings and preventive undertakings in the field of environmental disasters, natural disasters and emergency situations.
The first competition will include all the above mentioned thematic objectives of the programme. In total, more than EUR 80 million are to be distributed, of which EUR 13.5 million will be allocated for the „Heritage" area, EUR 28.3 million for „Accessibility", EUR 14.5 million for „Safety" and EUR 23.8 million for „Borders".
The beneficiaries may expect support of up to 90% of the value of a project. The call for applications will be two-stage - at first, the so-called project concepts (submitted until 31 December 2016) will be evaluated. Then, the selected applicants will be invited to submit full applications for funding. EU support for a project may be from EUR 100 thousand to EUR 2.5 million. The competition documentation, including the guidelines for the applicants, is available on the website of the programme for the years 2014-2020: www.pbu2020.eu.
- We will help potential beneficiaries, so that valuable initiatives do not encounter any sorts of barriers. We will conduct information meetings not only in the capitals of the regions, but also in smaller centres, such as Siemiatycze, Łomża or Lubaczów. We want to help less experienced entities in making use of the development opportunities offered by cross-border cooperation - said Deputy Minister Adam Hamryszczak.
The European Neighbourhood Instrument programmes are an important part of the EU policy towards its neighbours. The European Commission wants to support the social and economic development of the regions on both sides of the EU external borders. The financial resources come from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI).
The budget for the Poland-Belarus-Ukraine Programme is more than EUR 183 million. Cooperation will benefit the inhabitants of 4 Polish voivodeships (Podlaskie, Lubelskie, Podkarpackie, eastern part of Mazowieckie) and 4 Belarusian and Ukrainian regions (Belarus: Brest, Grodno, Minsk and Gomel; Ukraine: Lviv, Volyn, Zakarpattia, Rivne, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk).