- Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Regional Policy.

Copy to:

- Dirk Ahner, European Commission’s Regional Policy Directorate-General;

- EESC European Economic and Social Committee.

Concerning: Poland.

Re: Planned shifts within the Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment (Program Operacyjny Infrastruktura i ¦rodowisko) between the Priority Axis VII Environmentally Friendly Transport and the Priority Axis VI. TEN-T Road and Air Transport.

According to the statements by the Polish Prime Minister and other ministers, the Polish government has been planning to amend the split of the remainder of the funds which are to be still spent within the Operational Programme "Infrastructure and Environment". An increase in expenditures for the Priority Axis VI has been planned by ca. PLN 4.7 bn for the purpose of building the S3 and S17 express ways. This amount is to be shifted from the Priority Axis VII. Environmentally Friendly Transport, Action 7.1. Development of the Railways. According to the Prime Minister, those funds would come from the savings on the railway projects post-tender procedures, and that all the scheduled railway projects are envisaged to be finalized. However, based even solely on the statements by the vice-minister of railways, all the planned railway investments from the List of the Individual Projects for the Programme are bound to fail to commence. In particular, the modernisation of the Warszawa – Radom railway line (project no. POIi¦ 7.1-19.1) as well as the Warszawa – Białystok railway line, section Warszawa Rembertów – Tłuszcz – Sadowne (project no. POIi¦ 7.1-22.1) are likely to be abandoned

Herein, we would like to present to you our position endorsed by the social and environmental NGOs listed below.

The below-signed organizations oppose the planned cutting of the funds for the action 7.1. item. In our opinion, such a decision would be based on no factual premises. Also, it is not clear whether those are the post-tender savings that would be shifted or whether, as it is evident from some of the statements from officials, part of the projects would not be finalized. Regardless of this issue, we state that the funds within the OP, which are earmarked for the sustainable transport, should be spent in line with the purpose of the Programme. Otherwise such a significant shift within the OP would require reviewing of the strategic environmental assessment of the entire Programme.

We point out the fact that the condition of the railway infrastructure network in Poland is much worse than that of the road infrastructure, and the gap is growing. As a result, the share of the road traffic has been increasing over the years, and the share of the railway traffic has been dropping considerably. In consequence, Poland does not fulfil the goals of the Göteborg Strategy in the sustainable transport area. The planned shift from the railways to the road network will certainly not contribute to reversing these trends.

Considering the above, we urge you to decline your consent to the proposed shift of the funds by the Polish government. The possible savings from the tender procedures should be spent for other railway projects – above all for the ones from the reserve list. In case of lack of appropriately prepared projects from the reserve list, we propose, further in this letter, other options of managing the funds within the Priority Axis VII. which would be feasible in terms of the deadline settlement of the funds in 2015.

Full version of the letter in Polish and list of signatures: [zobacz >>>]