Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

SCRUTINEER - FOREIGN NEWS

  • Comment
Graham Welch looks at how Poland's regions are escaping their Soviet past ...
Graham Welch looks at how Poland's regions are escaping their Soviet past

The scars of the last century are still visible on the Polish psyche, as well as on the landscape. In a country that has regained real autonomy only relatively recently, plans to regionalise the country have met with some opposition.

While Poles were tired of the Soviet-style centralised state, they were afraid that creating strong regional government would see national borders redrawn yet again. These fears have proved groundless, but regionalisation in Poland is still not without its problems.

'Three years on, the big issue is the lack of funding for the regional administrations,' says Krystyna Wroblewska, head of international development in Pomerania. Regional governments can not impose taxes. Instead, central government takes 1.5% of income tax and 0.5% of corporate tax and redistributes this back to the regions. 'The result is that decentralisation has not been a success,' she says.

No wonder, then, that Polish regions have been looking at the income-generating possibilities of international partnerships. The Local Government International Bureau has helped 36 Polish towns twin with UK towns and has worked with the British Embassy in Warsaw on four regional links.

With chronic underfunding of the administrations, the newest tier of government looks set for hard times.

Polish accession to the EU, set for 2004, will enable it to tap into European funding and, hopefully, repeat Ireland's economic transformation. Regional government may yet help Poland earn the title of Baltic Tiger.

Graham Welch

Media officer, LGIB

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.