"Networking is a great source of new ideas and a good way to improve them by confronting experiences and practices. This is why networking between EU regions is the basis of the INTERREG instruments. Promoting cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation is really the added-value Europe can bring" said Danuta Hübner. This two day conference is about cohesion policy in 2007-2013 programming period, with emphasis on the Territorial Co-operation objective. In addition, particular attention is being given to transport networks in the EU eastern external border regions.
In 2007-2013, the importance of Territorial co-operation, as pioneered by the INTERREG programmes, will increase. In particular, Danuta Hübner highlighted the recent new initiative of the Commission called "Regions for Economic change". Its objective is to boost the dissemination of "best practice" around Europe.
The Commissioner asked the participants to work together to attract more new jobs and investments and in parallel to improve the quality of life in a sustainable urban environment. The Regions for Economic change programme is currently in the process of approval by the Commission and will be launched within a few weeks when the first call for networks will be announced. The regions which are interested can already start identifying partners.
The conference was an opportunity to meet the Regional Authorities of Warminsko-Mazurskie region and to discuss their Regional Operational Programme to be implemented in 2007-2013 period. The ERDF allocation for Warminsko-Mazurskie is almost 6 times bigger (1,036 bln EUR) than the one in the previous programming period (156 mln EUR) making it the greatest chance ever for speeding up region's development. This one of the most beautiful and reached in nature's assets Polish region (46% of its territory is covered by nature protected areas) struggles with its peripheral character seeking the opportunity in EU funded investments to reverse negative development trends. The region will heavily invest in development of innovation and entrepreneurship, information society, tourism and transport infrastructure strands in coming years, while taking also advantage of additional
2,3 bln EUR allocated for Development of Eastern Poland Operational Programme.
The Commissioner visited also the Elblaskie Canal being the subject of key tourism project in Warminsko-Mazurskie region – the 80 km long navigable waterway with world-class monuments of hydrotechnical engineering art.
The objective of the NEEBOR Network is to improve the visibility of the eastern external border regions of the European Union and to create ground for common local and regional development initiatives. It currently consists of 41 regions. The first Annual Conference of NEEBOR was organised in Debrecen in Hungary in 2006.
The third strand of the Territorial Co-operation objective (sometimes abbreviated to INTERREG IV C) which promotes interregional co-operation, will benefit from
€ 320 million from the European Regional Development Fund for 2007-2013. Four information points can give information on this programme in Lille, Rostock, Katowice and Valencia.
Poland is the biggest beneficiary of UE funds in 2007 – 2013 programming period. It will receive EUR 67.3 billion or 19.4% of the total EUR 347,4 billion allocation for regional policy. Out of it 22 billion EUR goes to CF, 9,7 billion EUR to ESF, 34 billion EUR to ERDF and 1,3 billion EUR to performance reserve. Poland will receive another 13,2 billion EUR under rural development policy (EAFRD) and 734 million EUR under European Fisheries Fund (EFF).
Further information about European Regional Policy available at: