The European Union in order to face challenges resulting from different level of development of its Member States carries out active regional policy (the so-called ‘cohesion policy’ or ‘structural policy’).
Thus, the EU supports a range of activities aimed at:
- enhancing the competitiveness of the economies of the Member States,
- tackling unemployment,
- reducing the disparities between the regions.
Five main funds support the economic development of all EU countries in line with the objectives of Europa 2020 Strategy. These are:
- the European Regional Development Fund,
- the European Social Fund,
- the Cohesion Fund,
- the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development,
- the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
In the years 2014-2020 Poland, as the main beneficiary of the cohesion policy, will receive 82.5 billion EUR to support the development in different areas, such as:
- road and rail infrastructure,
- entrepreneurship support,
- natural environment protection,
- energy industry,
- investments in culture,
- employment and social inclusion.
The means will be also earmarked to enhance urban investments, such as comprehensive revitalisation projects, ecological transportation and low-carbon economy. Moreover, they will be invested in the development of the so-called ‘smart specialisations’ aiming at the development of selected priorities of the innovation policy. The support from the EU funds for 2014–2020 will cover these areas, which contribute the most to the economic growth, increased employment and economy modernisation. Priority will be given to the projects from which we will benefit long after their completion. The cohesion policy funds will be invested mainly in innovation and competitiveness of the economy, reduction of disproportions in development of individual parts of the country, citizen-friendly and efficiently functioning state and further development of transport and environmental infrastructure. These aims will be implemented through 22 programmes (6 national and 16 regional).