As much as 354 billion złotys (82.5 billion euros) has been allocated to Poland from the European Union’s 2014-2020 budget. Halfway through the budgetary period, contracts worth some 131.5 billion złotys have been signed, and only 28 billion złotys have been paid to beneficiaries, about 8 per cent of the total amount.
“The speed at which Poland is spending EU funds is not increasing very fast at all,” Bożena Lublińska-Kasprzak, former president of the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, currently the Business Centre Club’s shadow minister of entrepreneurship and innovation, told Gazeta.pl.
“The disproportions in time between applying, signing a contract and receiving the money are significant. This means that even if an entrepreneur’s application has been accepted they have to wait to obtain the funds. This has further implications: the time between coming up with an innovative idea and being able to implement it — which is key in research and development and innovative projects — is prolonged. A large number of applications for EU funds, especially those submitted by entrepreneurs, is rejected,” Ms Lublińska-Kasprzak added.
According to Ms Lublińska-Kasprzak, firms do not yet know what sort of projects can be submitted for next year. As she points out, it is impossible to prepare a good project within a month.
“In previous years, during the second EU budget [2007-2013], the pressure to spend EU funds efficiently was huge. Today, with as large an amount of money on offer as before, the subject is not being discussed as much,” Ms Lublińska-Kasprzak added.
According to the Ministry of Economic Development and Finance, 1.92 billion złotys (out of 35 billion złotys) have been paid within the Operational Programme Smart Growth, and 172 million złotys (of 8.8 billion złotys) as part of the Operational Programme Eastern Poland.