ABOUT SOUTH POLAND HOUSE

The South Poland House in Brussels (SPH) was founded by the regional representations of three administrative province located in southern Poland, namely the Maloplska, Opolskie and Silesia regions. Given these regions’ experience in running their own representations in Brussels, they hope to collaborate with each other more closely to devise macroregional strategies and be better poised to overcome the challenges concerning the raising and implementing of EU funds in the years 2014-2020. 

The Silesia and Opolskie regions cooperate within the framework of the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation ‘Tritia’ (EGTC TRITIA) established in early 2013. It is the first institution of this kind in Poland.

Likewise, the Malopolska and Silesia regions began cooperating more closely with each other due to their involvement in the

Southern Poland Development Strategy 2020 which focuses on the following areas: 

  • cooperation between major cities
  • increase in the competitiveness of the economy
  • improvement of human capital
  • promotion of southern Poland

Fulfilling the objectives of this strategy would facilitate the pooling and sharing of information between the regions, improve environmental protection, increase the efficiency of combatting the effects of natural disasters, refine communication and transportation systems, create smart economic specialisations in southern Poland and develop business cooperation networks. The strategy was so successful, that the Polish government endorsed it and in January 2014 officially adopted it as a macroregional strategy. Thus, it set a precedence in Poland as it was the first strategy of regional development enacted by the central government which was initially implemented by regional governments. Although the central government’s version of the strategy slightly differs from the regional one, its main ideas coincide closely with those put forward by the regions. Funding sources for this strategy include: national and regional operational programs for the years 2014-2020, European Territorial Cooperation programs and other national development programs. 

The increasingly comprehensive cooperation between the Malopolska, Opolskie and Silesia regions led to the creation of the South Poland House in Brussels, giving an additional impetus to the development of the southern regions of Poland in terms of economy, culture and investment. 

SPH OBJECTIVES AND IDEA BEHIND IT

The main objectives of the SPH are to build a successful brand and an image of southern Poland as a strong European macroregion among the EU institutions, as well as to take full advantage of the strengths and major development opportunities for Malopolska, Opolskie and Silesia regions. Their concerted effort will allow for more effective acquisition and expenditure of EU funds, as well as increasing the leverage of these regions with the EU institutions and international partners.

These objectives were reflected in the letter of intent signed by Marek Sowa, Marshal of Malopolska, Andrzej Buła, Marshal of Opolskie and Mirosław Sekula, Marshal of Silesia, on 28th May 2014 in Katowice. The letter was followed by a series of agreements between the regions which laid the foundation for the South Poland House in Brussels.

SPH ACTIVITIES

The SPH objectives will be achieved by:

  • harmonising activities and initiatives of the SPH regions in order to create and promote the brand of the South Poland House in Brussels among the EU institutions generally at European level
  • jointly participating in EU projects and events on the agenda of the EU institutions
  • jointly participating in promotional events in Brussels, Belgium and abroad; embracing active promotion and information policies based on solidarity

SPH activities and initiatives are coordinated by a joint secretariat. The presidency in the secretariat is rotating between the marshals or representatives of the Malopolska, Opolskie and Silesia regions.

PRIORITY AREAS FOR SPH

Main areas of activity for SPH are determined each year on the basis of current trends in the EU and priorities of the associated regions. The representatives of Regional Offices selected 3 domains which will be prioritised in 2015:

  1. Innovation: new technologies, smart specialization (including ICT) and SMEs.
  2. Energy (including renewable energy sources), environmental protection and water management
  3. Demographic challenges, active ageing