Polityka i społeczeństwo

Millions of euros for cross-border cooperation will go to Ukraine instead of Russia

As explained by analysts from the EU-wide ESPON programme, the decision of the Polish government and EU institutions to discontinue cross-border cooperation with Russia and Belarus means that the budgets of other Interreg programmes until 2027 will be increased.

“The Interreg 2021-2027 Programme is financed under the EU’s neighbourhood and cohesion policies. It supports sustainable development along the EU’s external borders and helps bridge the gap in living standards, solving shared problems on both sides of these borders,” ESPON experts said.

In the previous Interreg perspective, the total EU funding for the eight programmes implemented jointly with Russia was EUR 178 million, and for the two programmes with Belarus – EUR 257 million. This was planned to continue until 2027. However, Russia’s acts of war and the fact that its armies received areas and infrastructure from Belarus changed the situation completely. The rules of cross-border cooperation provided for its suspension in cases of violations of international law, human rights, democratic principles and rule of law.

“Currently, there is intensive work on launching a programme for bilateral cross-border cooperation between Poland and Ukraine in 2021-2027 with the contribution of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the same amount as that initially planned for the Poland-Belarus-Ukraine 2021-2027 Programme,” ESPON notes.

In addition, the ERDF funds of EUR 43.24 million for the programme with Russia are being redirected to other Interreg programmes: Poland-Lithuania (EUR 30 million), South Baltic (10 EUR million) and Poland-Slovakia (EUR 3.24 million).

At the same time, the European Commission is urgently investigating the legal and operational options to strengthen the current cross-border cooperation programmes between EU Member States (Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia) and Ukraine, as well as Ukraine’s participation in the ENI, which covers the Black Sea Basin or the Danube Transnational Programme, which is part of the Interreg initiative.

“Across the border regions of EU and Ukraine there are over one thousand active partnerships between regional and local authorities. These programmes provide the potential for rapid and effective support for Ukraine, including refugees,” ESPON analysts said.

The allocation of funds for 2022 for the Poland-Ukraine Programme will increase by nearly 70 percent in relation to the initially planned amount for this year, which is an additional sum of nearly EUR 10 million. The change results from the European Commission’s decision to redirect the funds for the EU’s external cooperation with Russia and Belarus; i.e. the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument from 2022 to Interreg programmes involving Ukraine and Moldova.

“Russian military aggression is a flagrant violation of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and the general principles of coexistence. The suspension of all cross-border and transnational programmes and payments to Russia and Belarus, paired with increasing support for Ukraine, is a concrete expression of solidarity with the Ukrainian nation,” said Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms.

The Polish authorities consulted changes in Interreg Programmes with the representatives of the voivodeships neighbouring the Kaliningrad Oblast: Pomorskie, Warmińsko-Mazurskie and Podlaskie. The previous beneficiaries will receive support in implementing new projects with partners from Lithuania and the Baltic Sea Basin.

ESPON is a programme financed by the European Commission and EU Member States aimed at the promotion and support of the European territorial dimension in terms of development and cooperation by: providing study results, knowledge transfer and information to representatives of public authorities.

Source of information: PAP MediaRoom


Źródło: pap-mediaroom.pl

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