Możliwość finansowania współpracy zagranicznej powiatów i gmin ze środków Unii Europejskiej
The possibilities of financing the international cooperation of municipalities and districts from European Union funds
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The international cooperation of Polish municipalities (gminas) and districts (poviats) is a common practice. According to Polish legislation territorial communities have good possibilities for international cooperation and there is no strong legal limitation in this matter. After Poland’s accession into the European Union, Polish territorial communities received the possibility of financing their international cooperation from EU funds. In the period 2007-2013 the main instrument of financing such initiatives is a separate objective of the European Union Cohesion Policy – the European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) objective. There are three types of such cooperation: cross-border, transnational and interregional. These three types of cooperation are implemented by European Territorial Cooperation Programmes. Poland is participating in total in 10 such programmes but within the scope of the article it is not possible to describe them all. Additionally, Poland is involved in the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) which is the European Commission’s initiative concerning cross-border cooperation with countries outside the European Union. Within the framework of this initiative Poland is involved in the Cross-border Cooperation Programme Poland-Belarus-Ukraine 2007-2013. This programme is a very good example of how a wide range of activities can be undertaken by municipalities and districts in the area of international cooperation. There are also other possibilities of financing the territorial communities’ international cooperation- e.g. the Human Capital Operational Programme or the Lifelong Learning Programme – but there is a very poor range of activities which concern the training and educational sector and which are connected mainly with experience exchange. There is no doubt that the European Territorial Cooperation is actually a main source of financing for the international activities of territorial communities. We can assume that it will also be the most important tool of their international cooperation also in the period 2014-2020.
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