Switzerland's strong commitment to Poland through a range of projects
During his official visit to Poland on 27 and 28 January 2014, President Didier Burkhalter visited one of the projects benefitting from Switzerland's support as part of its EU enlargement contribution.
Switzerland is supporting Poland by way of 58 projects intended to reduce economic and social disparities in Europe. The projects will be completed by 2017. Around 40 per cent of the CHF 464.6 million are being channelled to the structurally weak regions of Lubelskie, Malapolskie, Podkarpackie and Swietokrzyskie in the south-east of the country.
The main aims of the projects are:
to promote economic growth and improve working conditions
to improve security
to protect the environment
to improve public safety
to strengthen civil society
Example of project in Krakow: reducing air pollution and promoting renewable energies
On 28 January 2014 President Didier Burkhalter visited the Rydygier hospital in Krakow. With Swiss support the heating, cooling and ventilation systems are being modernised. The upgrading and modernisation of basic infrastructure in various hospitals in the Malopolskie region contributes to reducing emissions and air pollution.
Around 90 per cent of the country's energy needs are covered by coal, which pollutes the environment. Under the framework of the EU Directive on renewable energies the country has undertaken to increase the share of renewable energies as a proportion of overall energy consumption to 15 per cent by 2020. Switzerland is supporting Poland in this effort and is allocating grants from its EU enlargement contribution.
Further examples of projects supported by Switzerland's EU enlargement contribution:
Improving road safety with Swiss know-how The project involves exchanges between Swiss road safety experts and their Polish partners. Road safety in Poland, which is currently below the European standard, is to be improved through training courses, investment in road safety and national prevention campaigns.
More modern border crossings The border crossings at Siemianówka and Połowce on the frontier between Poland and Belarus are being upgraded and brought in line with Schengen standards with Swiss support. Modern facilities and equipment are largely lacking, meaning that staff are unable to carry out their duties effectively, especially given the growing volume of cross-border traffic. Another aspect of the project involves exchanges of know-how and experiences between Swiss and Polish customs authorities.
Strengthening the economy in the foothills of the Carpathian mountains In the foothills of the Carpathian mountains (Podkarpackie) in south-eastern Poland Switzerland is supporting the regional economy, particularly tourism and local production.
Disposal of asbestos Switzerland is supporting the administrative district of Lublin with a grant of CHF 13.2 million to dispose of asbestos. The project involves introducing a system to monitor and dispose of asbestos, removing waste containing asbestos from illegal dump sites and refurbishing the roofs of 6600 homes. Asbestos was often used in the past in Poland, particularly in the construction industry.