Changing Silesia together - part 3

The photograph shows Christopher Todd, Director of the Poland Unit in the Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission.

Christopher Todd, Director of the Poland Unit in the Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission

Dear Readers,
The EU’s cohesion policy plays an important role in building a European identity and is the most tangible expression of European solidarity. Its main goal is to bring decision making closer to the citizens, therefore the European Union is committed to discovering and supporting the individual development path of each EU region. The impact of cohesion policy funds on the development of local government in Poland has increased over the years. In the financial perspective for 2007-2013, 16 regional programs were created and local governments were allocated funds amounting to 17 billion EUR out of 67 billion euros for Poland. In the years 2014-2020 the EU funds managed by the local governments are already up to 31 billion EUR out of 76 billion EUR for Poland, and the Regional Operational Programme for the Silesian Voivodeship 2014-2020, with the allocation of 3.47 billion EUR, is the largest programme in the European Union managed by the local government! I admire the commitment of the Silesian municipal and commune authorities, which prepare and implement most of the investments, as well as other beneficiaries who are ready to implement valuable and often demanding projects.

With the help of the European Union budget, Silesia has caught up with the developed countries in terms of ‘civilization’ and the most important investments in basic infrastructure have already been completed to a large extent. On the example of the projects presented in the album, you can clearly see the shift of emphasis. Current projects aim to build a greener, more innovative, more digital region. Beneficiaries also prioritize intangible investments related to economic cohesion, such as developing human capital, promoting innovation and economic attitudes, adapting businesses to changing market conditions and adapting workers to new jobs.

I am glad that Silesian beneficiaries are not afraid of taking risk and this way implement pioneering projects to be followed by others.

Dear Readers,
European funds change Silesia region. The voivodeship is efficiently investing funds from the regional programme and boldly reaching for money from national programs. The Board of the Silesian Voivodeship takes actions with courage and confidence, allowing us to look to the upcoming final of this distribution of European Funds in the region with optimism.

The funds invested in the economy, green transformation and digital development, have been effective in improving the lives of residents. The data speaks for itself. So far, 40 kilometers of roads have been built and 12 units of rolling stock and 383 units of municipal transport fleet have been purchased with funds from the 2014-2020 Regional Programme. This resulted in the significant improvement in the comfort of residents who daily commute to school or work. Regional authorities have supported families by investing in preschool infrastructure, which resulted in 64 facilities dedicated to preschool education. They also helped entrepreneurs and thanks to their assistance 1256 entities received support from European funds during this period.

Last year we were all focused on fighting COVID-19, both on national and regional level. The Silesian Voivodeship has successfully dealt with the effects of the pandemic. We spent PLN 109 million to support health care, PLN 275 million to help entrepreneurs, PLN 124 million to support employers in keeping work places, and PLN 112.3 million to purchase personal protection and disinfection equipment in institutions of the health and social care system. The total support exceeded 530 million PLN. Additionally, €40.5 million from the REACT-EU facility will be activated in the near future, which the region plans to spend on low-carbon economy, health care and business assistance. The Regional Programme of the Silesian Voivodeship for 2014-2020 currently has more than 6300 contracts for the amount of EU funding of almost 15 billion PLN.

This is a huge injection of money that drives the development of Silesia. A new round of European funding for 2021-2027 lies ahead. Poland is to receive 770 billion PLN in the future EU budget. We want to allocate this money to investments in infrastructure, energy, entrepreneurship, environmental protection and digitalization, among others. This is another opportunity for the Silesian Voivodeship to become even more modern, life-friendly, innovative and accessible to people with different needs.

The photograph shows Waldemar Buda, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy.

Waldemar Buda, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy

The photograph shows Jakub Chełstowski, Marshal of the Silesian Voivodeship.

Jakub Chełstowski, Marshal of the Silesian Voivodeship

Dear Readers,
The Silesian Voivodeship with its complicated past and specific location is a blend of various cultures, traditions and customs. For centuries, the region’s industry has been based on coal. And while these traditions are still alive and determine the strength of the cultural heritage, the region is constantly changing to adapt to contemporary challenges.

Today, Silesia can be proud of its modern communication as well as educational and social infrastructure. The success we have achieved in recent years is the result of well-spent European Funds, as well as business- minded and committed residents who genuinely love this place.

In this album, you can read about the changes taking place with the support of the EU through the eyes of beneficiaries who deal with the implementation of projects related to social problems, professional activation and improvement of the quality of public services.

You can also find out how residents feel about functioning of these projects. They are happy to have modern infrastructure in the area, to have the latest technology to make their lives easier, and finally, to have a space where they can rest or recover.

The projects we present show how ambitiously Silesia looks into the future. The innovative solutions we keep introducing help redefine our place in the changing global reality. The cultural capital (unique in Poland and Europe), the entrepreneurship and commitment of its inhabitants, and finally the appropriate technical and scientific background are the common denominator for the changes that will gain momentum in the coming years. We are ready for them. Together we will change our region, our home, our place on earth for the better.

Dear Readers,
What kind of world do we want to leave for the next generation? This is the question one of the beneficiaries asks in this album. This question is important enough for each of us to ask ourselves. The answer seems obvious: we want to build a better and safer world. One in which our children, and later their children, will live healthy, prosperous and happy lives. While many things are beyond our control, we can invest in the region's social and economic sustainability by taking care of our common home.

For years, the European Union has supported projects that change our environment for the better. This includes social services, education, climate and environmental protection, the innovative economy and many other areas. Only in the past seven years, with the support of the Regional Operational Programme of the Silesian Voivodeship for 2014-2020, we have implemented about 6400 projects worth over PLN 15 billion! [as of 2.11.2021]

In the album we present only a few selected projects, showing that Silesia is a good place to live. These investments would not have happened if it were not for the commitment of our residens. Many have been striving to implement specific projects for years. Thanks to their extraordinary determination, persistence, and willingness to act, they managed to solve significant problems in their local communities. We give them a chance to share their experiences and insights.

I believe that the projects we present will become an inspiration to take on new challenges. All the more so as the next EU financial perspective is ahead of us, which means a time of great changes, including those related to energy transformation. It is worth another effort, because it will lead to the goal of further development of our region.

The photograph shows Wojciech Kałuża, Deputy Marshal of the Silesian Voivodeship.

Wojciech Kałuża, Deputy Marshal of the Silesian Voivodeship

Presentation of selected projects co-financed from the Regional Operational Programme of the Silesian Voivodeship for years 2014-2020