ABOUT SOUTH POLAND HOUSE

Origin of the South Poland House in Brussels (SPH)

The idea of the creation of the South Poland House in Brussels (SPH) stemmed from prior experiences of the concerned regions, linked to the autonomous management of their representations In Brussels, as well as to the development of transregional strategies and challenges connected to the procurement and implementation of European funds in 2014-2020.

The cooperation of the Silesia and Opolskie regions within the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation Tritia (created on 25 February 2013) on the one side, and the Southern Poland Development Strategy 2020 (adopted on 5 April 2013 and within which the Małopolska and Silesia regions collaborated) on the other side, were the starting point for closer relations.

The increasingly comprehensive cooperation between the three regions in the framework of the above initiatives led to the creation of the South Poland House in Brussels, which brought an additional impetus to the development of the southern regions of Poland in terms of economy, culture and investment. 

SPH’S creation and its objectives

The letter of intent signed on 28 May 2014 by Marek Sowa, Marshal of Małopolska, Andrzej Buła, Marshal of Opolskie and Mirosław Sekula, Marshal of Silesia laid the foundation for the creation of the South Poland House in Brussels.

The main objective of the SPH is enlarging the scope and strengthening the influence of the representation of the three regions. This is achieved through the organisation of promotional events, an effective use of European funds and a more efficient management of HR, technical and housing resources of each region that is present in Brussels.

The rules of cooperation of the three regions were originally set in the Agreement from 7 October 2014 signed by the Małopolska and Silesia regions as well as in the Agreement on the organisation of Joint Secretariat as part of the South Poland House in Brussels initiative signed on 26 August 2014 by the Opolskie Region and the Regional Office of the Silesia Region in Brussels (BRWŚ).

In the autumn of 2017, the Silesia Region took the decision to reorganise its representation in Brussels and therefore the above agreements were ended. "Pro Silesia" Business - University - Region Association replaced BRWŚ. As a consequence, and taking into account the will of continuing the collaboration of the Małopolska, Opolskie and Silesia Regions, whose representations have had shared headquarters from 1 January 2018, a new Agreement was prepared. It set out the regulations of the furtherer representation of interest of the above regions as part of the South Poland House in Brussels initiative. The new Agreement was signed on 21 March 2018. It specified in details the further cooperation. It is the second stage of a long-term strategy aimed at increasing the scope of impact and improving recognition of the above regions on the European arena.

SPH’S FUNCTIONING

In order to establish synergy in SPH’s activities, three key areas for the three regions have been selected, and each region has a key area assigned to it. In that way, one region monitors the given area, also for the two other regions. This approach is an excellent time saver and it also allows for the development of SPH’s joint activities as well as for the creation of an action plan for the whole territory of Southern Poland in a given area.

As a result of an analysis conducted in 2014, the following activity areas were identified by the three regions:

1.            Innovation: new technologies, smart specialization (including ICT) and SMEs 
               (these activities are coordinated by the Małopolska region);

2.            Energy (including renewable energy sources), environmental protection and water management
               (these activities are coordinated by the Silesia region);

3.            Demographic challenges, active ageing (these activities are coordinated by the Opolskie region);

The coordination of the South Poland House in Brussels’ activities changes every year. Its coordinators are the Marshals of the Silesia, Małopolska and Opolskie regions or the regions’ authorised representatives, in the following order:

  • 1 October 2014 – 31 December 2015 – Silesia Region
  • 1 January 2016 – 31 December 2016 – Małopolska Region
  • 1 January 2017 – 31 December 2017 – Opolskie Region
  • 1 January 2018 – 31 December 2018 – Silesia Region
  • 1 January 2019 – 31 December 2019 – Małopolska Region
  • 1 January 2020 – 31 December 2020 - Opolskie Region
  • and so on, in this order.

A joint secretariat supports the activities of the South Poland House in Brussels. It is responsible for the initiatives undertaken under the shared banner of SPH.