Cooperation in the European Union
Poland’s membership in the European Union results in constant and close cooperation of the Ministry with the institutions developing the Union law – the European Commission and the European Parliament, with the Member States as part of work of the European Union Council as well as with advisory and consultative bodies. This cooperation takes place both at the political and expert level.
In this regard, the Ministry’s activities are focused on:
proposing regulations in the EU law, which will not cause an unnecessary burden on the national administration, state budget and economies of the Member States,
promoting the Polish interest with regard to the priority legal acts in the field of transport, through active participation in the legislative work of the European Commission, EU Council and European Parliament, as well as bilateral and multilateral contacts with the Member States for developing common positions and building coalitions,
comprehensive informing the Polish Members of the European Parliament about the state of the work and the Polish position on matters of particular importance for the interest of the country.
At the political level, cooperation with the EU institutions means, first of all, meetings with the Members of the European Parliament and the European Commission representatives, participation in meetings of the EU Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council, participation in informal meetings of ministers organised by the individual EU Member States during holding of the presidency by them.
At the expert level, of great importance is current cooperation within the framework of the EU Council working groups preparing formal meetings of the EU Council at the level of ministers. This activity consists in preparing the position, carrying out consultation with involved government administration units and social partners, and then presenting the position of the Polish government.
The programme of the work of the EU Council, including its working groups, is developed on the basis of the annual work programmes of the European Commission which has a legislative initiative in the EU decision-making process.
Currently, with regard to direct competences of the Ministry, the most important issues discussed in the forum of the EU Council include:
legislative proposals making up the so-called 4th railway package, aimed at creating a uniform European railway area, which will allow to implement the internal market of railway transport and to simplify the legal environment in which railway services in Europe are provided,
regulation of access to the market of port services and financial transparency of ports,
determination of technical requirements applicable to inland waterway vessels,
determination of the rights of passengers in air transport.
In the nearest future, from among the particularly important initiatives, we should mention work on regulations governing the civil and commercial use of remotely controlled aircraft (drones) and on a package of legal regulations aimed at strengthening the competitiveness of EU aviation internationally.
Another important project which will require an intensive involvement of the ministry of infrastructure and development, is the review of the European legislation regarding the functioning of the EU road transport market. Following the analysis carried out, in 2016 the European Commission is planning to present a proposal to revise the regulations according to three basic areas:
fees for the use of road infrastructure,
social regulations in road transport,
access to the road transport market and road safety.
The Ministry is actively involved in the analysis of these issues.
Apart from participation in the EU decision-making process, the Ministry carefully observes the activities of other Member States which may interfere with the functioning of the European Union internal market. Recently, the ministry has been playing a particularly active role in the discussion on the protectionist measures taken by some Member States and breaching the proper functioning of the road transport market. Thanks to constant cooperation of the ministry with the EU institutions and other Member States, Poland has become a leader in this part of Europe in the debate on the future of the European road transport, which enables efficient impact on the shape of EU transport policy.
In addition, in connection with the discussion in the EU forum concerning the role of the Cohesion Policy in the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy and its links with the European Union economic governance system, the ministry makes a significant contribution to building the Polish negotiating capacity, inter alia, through initiatives supporting the debate on the need to make the EU funds focused stronger on the sectors of particular importance for the growth, pursuant to the Europe 2020 strategy. Strengthening the Polish position in the European Union in political terms is also implemented as part of regional cooperation involving collaboration with the states of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUS BSR) and of the Visegrad Group (also in the V4+ formula).
The ministry, as the authority coordinating the implementation of the EEA Financial Mechanism and Norwegian Financial Mechanism (National Contact Point), implements regular cooperation with three Donor States: Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, as part of the second edition of these funds (2009-2014). Also, the Swiss Polish Cooperation Programme is implemented.
In connection with Poland’s participation in the European Territorial Cooperation programmes, the Ministry acts as the Managing Authority for three European Territorial Cooperation programmes in the 2007-2013 perspective (programmes: Poland-Brandenburg, Poland-Slovakia, Southern Baltic Sea) and three in the 2014-2020 perspective (programmes: Poland-Saxony, Poland-Slovakia, Southern Baltic Sea). In addition to these programmes, in the 2007-2013 and 2014-2020 perspectives, Poland participates in four cross-border cooperation programmes, two transnational cooperation programmes and two interregional programmes.
The Swiss-Polish Cooperation Programme
The Swiss-Polish Cooperation Programme, the so-called ‘Swiss Fund’, is a form of foreign non-returnable financial aid aiming at the reduction of the economic and social disparities within the enlarged European Union. On the basis of international agreements more than CHF 1 billion was allocated. The contribution to Poland amounts to CHF 489,02 million. Romania and Bulgaria joined the programme in 2010.
Norwegian Financial Mechanism and the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism
The EEA grants and Norway grants represent foreign non-returnable financial aid granted by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to the new members of European Union. In return these EEA countries are partners in the internal market with the 28 EU member states. At present, the 2nd edition of these programs is implemented. Previous edition was carried out during the period from 2004 to 2009.
European Globalisation Adjustment Fund
This Fund is dedicated to support workers who have been made redundant as a result of globalisation, economic and financial crisis or changes in the structure of world trade.
The Ministry participates actively in cooperation with the Visegrad Group countries (also in the V4+ formula). It is also involved in the work of the High-Level Working Group for Transport Links between the Visegrad Group countries (HLWG), which has been established to develop transport links between the V-4 countries in order to increase the competitiveness of the macro-region. The added value of cooperation within the framework of V4 is mutual support for selected investments, their coordination and joint lobbying in the European Commission for solutions beneficial to V4. To this end, on 24 June 2014, during the Summit of the Prime Ministers of the Visegrad Group, a Memorandum of Understanding, containing a roadmap for joint actions of the V4 countries, was drawn up and adopted.
Taking into account the priorities of the Czech presidency in the Group (1 July 2015 – 30 June 2016) and the will of closer coordination of the tasks carried out by the subsequent, Polish presidency, in the field of transport we would like to pay special attention to the issue of reviewing progress of the V4 countries in implementing transport projects of common interest, on the TEN-T network, North-South axis. The issues which, in the Polish opinion, should be stressed, include:
4th railway package,
implementation of projects co-financed from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funds,
expansion of railway infrastructure of the TEN-T network.
Also, the discussion on certain issues with regard to air transport will be of importance.
Council of the Baltic Sea States
At the ministry, there is ongoing work aimed at preparing and holding the Polish Presidency in the Council of the Baltic Sea States. The planned activities will support the implementation of the objectives of the Presidency, contributing to ensuring the significant presence of Poland in the Baltic Sea area. In the current situation in the Council, it is expected that Poland will provide a new impetus to the work of this organisation, by recovering its dynamics and opening new prospects. Among the activities of the MID, the following were planned, inter alia: a number of projects aimed at assessing and promoting the implementation of EUS BSR, especially in connection with the new principle of the implementation of the strategy under the European Structural and Investment Funds programmes; stressing the position of Poland in the Baltic Sea area, promoting the achievements in the field of maritime economy, providing opportunities for the exchange of experiences, information, as well as expanding the network of economic and business connections.
The Ministry is taking action on behalf of the Eastern Partnership, as well as supports the transformational processes taking place in the partner countries (i.e. covered by Polish development aid). Within the framework of development cooperation, in 2014 the Ministry implemented the projects for Moldova and Tunisia, co-financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the programme “Polish aid” which contributed to the institutional strengthening of public administration of Moldova and Tunisia with regard to the implementation of the regional development policy. In addition, we shared our experience in the programming and implementation of the development policy and regional policy within the framework of the working meetings, inter alia, with the representatives of public administration of Georgia, Ukraine, Kosovo, Belarus and Serbia.
Cooperation with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
The Ministry actively cooperates with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development within the framework of the Territorial Development Policy Committee – with its working groups and European Regional Policy Research Consortium (EoRPA), which are an important source of knowledge in the work related to improving the methods of regional analyses and in conceptual work on strategic planning documents. This cooperation also takes place within the framework of the Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Programme.
Cooperation of the Ministry with the OECD also functions within the framework of the International Transport Forum and the Territorial Development Policy Committee – with its working groups, which are an important forum for the exchange of experiences and knowledge in the field of improving the methods of regional analyses and in conceptual work on strategic planning documents. In July 2014, the Memorandum was signed on the basis of which the Ministry and the Secretariat of the National Council for Road Safety received access to the International Road Traffic and Accident Database (IRTAD).
The Ministry works intensely with Ukraine, an expression of which was, inter alia, the signing in December 2014, by the Minister of Infrastructure and Development, of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development of the Republic of Poland and the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine, on support for Ukraine in the area of adjusting infrastructures to the European Union standards.
In cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Polish diplomatic and consular establishments, the Ministry takes diplomatic activities, aimed at presenting the achievements of the city of Łódź and of Poland in terms of revitalisation and urban development, while showing the specific nature and uniqueness of the city and the country, through, inter alia, co-organising meetings, exhibitions, seminars, diplomatic conferences, etc., in connection with the fact that the Republic of Poland is going to apply for the right of organising the EXPO International Exhibition in Łódź in 2022.
We are also actively involved in promoting Polish-Chinese cooperation at the local level, through leading the Working Group for Polish-Chinese regional cooperation and heading the Polish delegations during the most important events in regional cooperation with the People’s Republic of China: Poland-China Regional Forum (Guangzhou, 10 June 2014) and Local Leaders Forum (Prague, 28 August 2014). These activities are an expression of adaptation to new challenges in connection with changes not only in Europe, but also on a global scale.