Ministry of Development wants to help medium-sized towns
2.5 billion PLN – that is the amount of money that Polish Ministry of Development wants to assign to helping medium-sized Polish towns to boost their economies and development. Through various schemes that will be part of Programme for Development, the government wants to give smaller entities a new life. Currently, in Poland there are 255 such municipalities.
The plan is a response to the report of Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN). The institution looked into the situation of medium-sized municipalities situated Poland, i.e. towns which have more than 20,000 inhabitants (or 15,000 inhabitants and the status of powiat capital). The findings of the research are nowhere near optimistic. PAN presented a list of 122 medium-sized towns that are under threat of socio-economic collapse.
The situation of smaller townships is getting worse year by year. One problem is negative demographic tendencies. But small number of children born is not the only reason for depopulation. A big issue across Poland is migration to other countries. Young people leave their hometowns in search of better career prospects or to study. Even if they do not move to another state, chances are they will choose to go to big cities like Warsaw, Poznań or Wrocław and never come back.
An important point in the history of the development of towns in Poland was the administrative reform of 1999. It made local government institutions move to several large Polish cities, stripping smaller municipalities from power and jobs. Since the 1990s, Polish towns are having trouble attracting big investment and maintaining big workplaces, like factories and other industry facilities.
The support programme prepared by the experts from the Ministry of Development includes easier access to funds from Polish Development Fund as well as EU funds from the programmes for the years 2014-2020. “The package will help build stable socio-economic potential and strengthen the role of medium-sized towns on the development map of Poland”, said deputy minister of development Jerzy Kwieciński.