On 30th June 2022, after almost three years of preparation, we have sent the Interreg NEXT Programme Poland-Ukraine to the European Commission.
The Programme was initially prepared in a trilateral formula, as a continuation of the existing cross-border cooperation between Poland, Belarus and Ukraine. The first meeting of the Programming Committee responsible for its preparation took place back in October 2019. Already at that time, the members of the Committee, i.e. representatives of the national and regional authorities of three countries, as well as the social partners, had tentatively decided on the priorities of the new Programme. They made their decision on the basis of a socio-economic analysis of the planned support area. In parallel, the regions participating in the Programme began working on concepts for non-competitive large infrastructure projects.
Regrettably, preparations were disrupted by the course of the presidential elections in Belarus in 2020, then by the actions of the Belarusian authorities on the border with Poland, and finally by their support for the Russian aggression against Ukraine. These events resulted in the European Commission's decision, made in February this year, to exclude Belarus from cooperation under the Interreg initiative.
The war did not stop work on the Programme. Within four months, Poland and Ukraine agreed and approved the content of the Programme in a bilateral, Polish-Ukrainian formula.
We have submitted the Programme document for extensive public consultation. In July 2021, we consulted its strategic part. This resulted in a change in the thematic scope of the Programme. Then, in May this year, we submitted the entire document for public consultation in both countries. We incorporated the comments and feedback from the consultations into the final version of the document.
Similarly, we consulted widely on the Strategic Environmental Assessment Report of the Programme. We took into account the suggestions sent to us. The final assessment clearly shows that the implementation of the Programme does not pose a threat to the environment. If it proceeds as planned, it will contribute significantly to protecting the environment.
In the second half of June, following adoption by the Programming Committee, the document was approved by the governments of both countries. This enabled us to submit the Programme to the European Commission within the deadline set by the Commission.
We would like to thank all the Parties involved in the preparation of the Programme. In particular, we would like to thank the representatives of the Ukrainian authorities who, despite extremely difficult circumstances, were continuously involved in creating the structure of the Polish-Ukrainian cross-border cooperation for 2021-2027.
We also hope that in the near future, it will be possible to return to the almost 20-year-old tradition of cross-border cooperation in a trilateral format – Polish-Belarusian-Ukrainian.
The Programme document will soon be published on the Programme website.
The Programme is focused on 5 priorities:
The allocation of EU funds for the Programme is 187 415 990 EUR.
Projects must be implemented in a Polish-Ukrainian partnership and must have a cross-border character. As in the current edition of the Programme, three types of projects are planned:
Direct beneficiaries of the projects can be, for example:
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