Red tape strangling EU-funded projects



Information board at Koluszki Station describing how the modernization of the Lodz Widzew – Skierniewice railway line was made possible thanks to EU funding

EU funding was supposed to help Poland converge towards a Western European style economy. But Poland’s Eastern European bureaucracy seems totally incapable of reaching out for the funds that are available. Last Thursday. Rzeczpospolita – Poland’s newspaper of record, published a story about an internal report produced by the Ministry of Regional Development. The Ministry, which oversees Poland’s EU funded programmes, had identified the Ministries of Science and Higher Education, Environment, and Education as all failing to achieve their half yearly targets for absorbing EU funds.

The worst culprit of all was the Ministry of Infrastructure, responsible for Poland’s roads and railways. Of the 19,000,000,000 euro EU funding allocated to the Ministry for the period 2007 – 2013 the Ministry has so far only processed 66,000,000 euros worth. It appears that PKP S.A. which is suffering a major cash flow crisis – will not receive any EU funding this year because of incorrectly filled in paperwork.

Part of the problem is the laid back management culture in PKP. Another reason is that, while the stipulations of the Brussels officials are quite demanding  regarding how the EU funding process is supposed to work, they are at least internally consistent. The same cannot be said regarding the Kafkaesque instructions that have been added by Poland’s own bureaucracy.

It needs someone with the requisite political clout to cut through the red tape or Poland’s creaking infrastructure will carry on creaking into the foreseeable future.


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