December 23rd, 2009,
Number 154-155




Amendments to the Public Finance Act vs the implementation of European Funds

The new Public Finance Act comes into force on January 1st, 2010 and introduces changes in the European Funds implementation system. While the majority of changes concern mainly the way of financing programmes, they will also influence the institutional system. One of the novelties is the institution of a Payer which will be performed by the Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK).

The new system assumes that EU funds will be excluded from the national budget. According to the new Act, a special budget comprising of EU funds allocated for programmes will be created. Money from the budget will be transferred directly to beneficiaries and will take the form of a payment (and not a development grant) paid by the BGK. Payment will be initiated on the basis of orders issued by a financing agreement signed by the beneficiary and its partner institution.

The new Public Finance Act provides that the national co-financing i.e. the part of financing that comes from the state budget will be transferred to the recipient in the form of target grants managed by an officer responsible for the budget, either directly or through the BGK. The new system therefore introduces the principle that the beneficiary receives the funds for financing from two sources: EU funds distributed by BGK in the form of payment, and any national co-financing from the state budget in the form of targeted subsidies paid by the BGK or directly by the relevant officer.

What really results important for the beneficiaries is the fact that the amended Act creates different procedures for settlement of received funds, depending on the form of transfer, especially in the context of payment of compensation in advance. In case an advance payment transferred to the beneficiary includes both EU and national contributions, the beneficiary will need to know exactly which part of the funding should be repaid in case of a lack of a financial settlement as of the end of the fiscal year. Therefore, grant agreements must clearly specify what portion of funds comes from the national co-financing and what consequences may result from the lack of settlement by the end of a given fiscal year. Agreements signed before the new Act will gradually be updated with appropriate annexe. Lack of new annexe will not stop due payments. The Act’s regulations clearly show that the existing commitments and mechanisms will continue in force. (MRR)

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Leaders in Innovation rewarded

This year’s winners of the “Poland’s Leaders in Innovation” were announced and awarded on December 15th.

“Poland Leaders in Innovation - 2009” is an open nationwide competition organised by the Innovation and Development Foundation. Contess participants recruit from among entrepreneurs, municipalities, NGOs, cooperative banks and private entities (representatives of academic circles, science, culture, sport), who make and implement innovative and development-oriented projects and initiatives. Participants compete in the following categories: Innovative Company, Innovative Product, Innovative Service, Innovative Municipality, Innovative Organization, Innovative Project and Innovative Cooperative Bank.

The idea behind the contest is to detect and promote interesting innovative initiatives. The contest comprises of two parts i.e. a regional (16 regions) and a nationwide part.

In order to celebrate former editions of the regional contests, 16 regional capital cities hosted seminaries entitled "Closer to Innovation" which were organised in co-operation with the sponsor and partners of the event. For a complete list of awarded projects visit www.liderzyinnowacji.pl. (Krajowi Liderzy Innowacji)

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Competition “Polish Product of the Future”

The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development launched the 13th edition of the contest “Polish Product of the Future”. Applications can be sent by March 1, 2010.

Participation in the Contest, co-funded by the European Union under the European Social Fund, is free of charge and requires no complex application procedure. Those who want to take part in the contest have to fulfil the major condition - present a new, innovative product or technology.

So far, based on the opinions of independent experts evaluating contest applications, 25 projects were distinguished and 51 prizes awarded. PARP has been actively promoting the awarded projects on international innovation fairs and exhibitions in the country and abroad. Moreover, the projects are introduced and spread by means of catalogues, folders, and multimedia presentations. Authors of the awarded projects are invited to participate in conferences, seminars and radio and television programs devoted to innovation. The prize earns the projects special points in the technical assessment of a given project if it applies to enter the Operational Program - Innovative Economy in Action 4.4 "New investments with high potential for innovation." A special Internet service presenting information on the contest was created in 2007 -www.ppp.pi.gov.pl. Applications for his year’s contest may be submitted by mail or directly at the headquarters of the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development by March 1st, 2010. (PARP)

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The best product of the exhibition “Designed in Poland”

The contest was settled during the Belarusian edition of “Designed in Poland” which was organised between December 1-11 in the Trade Union House of Culture. The exhibition showcased products designed by leading Polish designers of jewellery and applied art.

The exhibition presented a collection of art designed by Polish jewellery designers. Artefacts presented in the collection have a modern form which effectively combines amber with precious metals and showcase applied art compounding tradition and modernity. The aim of the exhibition was to showcase the specific features of the Polish goldsmithery and to attract attention of the Belarusian public to the works of Polish designers. Visitors received an illustrated catalogue with photos and information about the presented products and could also participate in the contest to choose the most interesting product of the event. Special committee counted the cast votes on December 16th. The greatest number of votes, the title of the best exhibit of "Designed in Poland" and a special award - the prize of the President of PAIiIZ - went to a Gerlach cutlery set. The second prize went to “Technonatura” ring by Mariusz Gliwiński from Ambermoda and the third was awarded to a metal spices set by Olimpia Ajakajyje. Heartfelt congratulations to all winners! (PAIiIZ)

Gerlach cutlery set

“Technonatura” ring

Metal spieces set by Olimpia Ajakajyje

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Development of the Polish-Russian economic co-operation - conference in Moscow

On December 16th a conference “Why is it worth investing in Poland?” organised by the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency and the Trade and Investment Promotion Section in Moscow in co-operation with the Polish-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Polish-Russian Business Roundtable (Diełowaja Russia) took place in Moscow.

The aim of the conference was to discuss Poland’s investment climate and to present conditions for business in Poland. Participants of the meeting discussed also development perspectives of the Polish-Russian economic co-operation. The debate attracted numerous representatives from the business world who shared their experiences of doing business in Poland.

The meeting was attended by: Rafał Baniak - Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Economy, Sławomir Majman - PAIiIZ President, Piotr Borowski - Director at the Warsaw Stock Exchange, Jacek Socha - Deputy President of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Warsaw, Stanisław Ciosek - Secretary General of Eastern Club - Association for Support of Economic Co-Operation with the East, Jerzy Bahr - Polish Ambassador in Moscow, Tatiana Liegliczina - Russian Federation Commerce and Industry Chamber, Chris Monteleone - Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Moscow, Władimir Szewielenko - Delovaya Russia. The event gathered over 100 guests.

Organisers prepared a press briefing before the conference which was attended by the Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Economy - Mr Rafał Baniak and the PAIiIZ President - Mr Sławomir Majman.

Poland’s representatives announced that the conference was the first in a series of planned events to be organise in the Russian market. (PAIiIZ)

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Poland registered the largest increase of construction output

According to Eurostat data for October 2009 Poland registered the largest construction output when compared to the same period last year.

Construction output rose in three EU countries. From among the countries it was Poland that registered the highest level of the increase i.e. +3.3%. The country was followed by the Czech Republic +1.5%, and Germany +0.2%. The biggest falls hit Slovenia (-28.2%), Bulgaria (-25.1%), Romania (-24.7%) and Slovakia (-21.2%).

In the whole European Union construction output fell by 6.9% y-o-y and the euro zone registered a 7.7% decrease y-o-y. (Eurostat)

  • Exchange rates (as of 23.12.2009):









Source: www.nbp.pl

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Skaryszewski Park - the most beautiful Polish park

Warsaw’s Skaryszewski Park won the 4th edition of the Briggs & Stratton contests for the most beautiful Polish park. In the European edition of the competition - Best Park 2009 - the Warsaw Park classified in 3rd position!

The Warsaw-based Park defeated competitors from Germany, the UK and Italy. The Polish Park was within an inch of winning the second place but finally lost to France and ranked 3rd. In the Polish edition, the Skaryszewski Park resulted unrivalled. The jury, composed of representatives from cities-winners of previous years, assessed the park-candidates’ state of preservation of green infrastructure, functionality and additional attractions of the park.

- The Skaryszewski Park is one of the few areas where the spatial arrangement has not been amended since its creation. - said Paweł Lisicki deputy director of the Bureau of Environmental Protection. - We came up with this contest, to remind people that the beautiful green areas can not only be found in albums but in their neighbourhood, sometimes right next to their homes, as evidenced by the successful previous editions (Zamość, Żywiec and Łódź). That is why candidates may be put up by literally everybody, even young people and children - said Pweł Konefał, one of the contest organisers. - This year's victory of the Warsaw-based park was twofold because of the park’s excellent performance in the European park classification - added Mr Konefał.

The first prize included PLN 5,000 and a professional petrol engine mower with a Briggs & Stratton engine. The Park will also be entitled to use the title of the Most Beautiful Polish Park, which is reserved exclusively for the winners of the contest. This title does not only translate into a prestige sign, but offers the opportunity to establish contacts with other contest winners from previous years, both in Poland and Europe, in order to e.g. launch joint promotion initiatives. (Warsaw City Council)

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Public aid in 2008 - report by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK)

According to the report prepared by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, public aid granted last year reached PLN 14.4 billion. The greatest amount of money went to entrepreneurs in the framework of horizontal and regional aid.

According to the latest report on public aid, the overall aid granted in 2008 reached PLN 14.38 billion (in 2007 PLN 6.55 billion). One of the most often applied methods consisted in tax exemptions (the same was for 2005-2007) and grants (81.4%).

The first position among institutions which distribute public aid was taken by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP) - last year the President of PARP distributed PLN 2.89 billion. PARP was followed by: the National Fund for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons (PLN 2.5 billion) and the revenue and customs offices (PLN 1.95 billion).

Horizontal aid reached over PLN 4.92 billion - in 2007 it accounted for PLN 3.18 billion. The largest funds were allocated to support employment (up from PLN 2.06 billion in 2007 to PLN 2.96 billion in 2008), environment protection (more than hundredfold increase to PLN 896.6 mln) and development of small and medium-sized enterprises (PLN 460.3 mln, a year earlier - PLN 654.8 mln).

In the sectoral aid the amount of granted money reached PLN 2.52 billion (in 2007 448.5 million ). The biggest aid, more than PLN 1.75 billion, went to energy companies and was meant to act as a kind of a compensation for the termination of long term contracts for the purchase of power and energy. In turn, as much as PLN 588.4 million was allocated to the sector of coal mining (in 2007, PLN 399.6 mln). The value of regional aid totalled PLN 4.04 billion - more than PLN 3.78 billion was transferred to support new investment. Second biggest grants were allotted to the initiatives connected with creating new jobs - PLN 245.2 mln.

The biggest public aid beneficiary, as in the years 2004-2007, remains the PKP Group, which was granted PLN 2.18 billion. This year the group received the greatest support for its company PKP Regional Services (PLN 2.07 billion ). Next on the list are: PKN Orlen (PLN 484.5 mln ), PGE Power Plant Opole (PLN 411.1 mln ), PGE Turów Power Plant (PLN 348.2 mln ), Lotos Group (PLN 245.5 million ) and Kompania Węglowa (PLN 236.3 mln).

The analysis of public aid granted to Polish regions shows a situation similar to the one in 2007, 2008 saw entrepreneurs from the same regions at the forefront of the ranking: Mazowsze (PLN 1.86 billion ), Silesia (PLN 1.84 billion), Lower Silesia (PLN 1.04 billion) and Wielkopolska (PLN 926.8 mln). In turn, the highest rate of economic growth as compared to 2007, was reported in the regions of Opole, Mazowsze, Małopolska and Lublin.

The value of the aid granted to entrepreneurs in the year 2008 more than doubled the amount distributed in 2007, primarily because of the new forms of aid. In 2008 for the first time EU funds were counted among other public aid forms (PLN 2.66 billion). This was because in the financial perspective 2007-2013, the European Commission requires support provided from EU funds to comply with provisions regulating public assistance. Secondly, this was the first year when aid began to be provided to energy producers due to the termination of long-term contracts (PLN 1.75 million). Thirdly, the support went for the first time also to businesses producing biofuels (PLN 854.7 mln). (UOIKiK)

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The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity to play for the 18th time

This time the Orchestra will play on Sunday January 10th, 2010. Money collected during the day will support facilities providing oncology treatment for children.

In Poland there are several centres of paediatric oncology with excellent staff which unfortunately are not sufficiently equipped to perform quick and precise diagnoses and provide modern treatment. The ambition of the Foundation was to create dozens of additional medical facilities in Poland (a few in each province), where such services could be provided to children on a local level. Money gathered by the Orchestra in the 17th edition of the money-rising event (PLN 40 million) were allocated to the purpose.

These funds were used to equip 60 radiological laboratories in Poland with modern cameras, ultrasound, ultrasonografy devices and modernisation of existing magnetic resonance facilities for children.

The money did not make it possible to buy all the needed equipment e.g. a computer tomography apparatus which help perform very precise diagnoses and indicate the location of tumours.

In order to fulfil the previously planned actions, the 2010 event will also collect and transfer money to oncology facilities.

Next year the Foundation will also continue to carry out and fully finance three medical education programs run nationwide in Poland which are connected with hearing tests of all newborn babies, sleep apnea treatment and first aid courses.

The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy, WOŚP) is one of the biggest, non-governmental, non-profit, charity organizations in Poland. The GOCC Foundation has American Heart Association Certification for providing courses in CPR and ECC, and use of high technology for medical lifesaving. It was founded in 1993. The Great Finale takes place on the first or second Sunday every year. Sponsored by many Polish and world companies, it is a one-day long, nationwide, money-raising event during which money is collected and later used to support medical facilities across the country. The total of collected money exceeded USD 96 million dollars (without the last edition). This money is used to purchase medical equipment for over 650 medical facilities in Poland. (WOŚP)

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