Poland's Views on Regional, Justice and Home Affairs and Agriculture Talks

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"I hope that the EU Brussels summit will open the way to the conclusion of talks in Copenhagen. Poland is ready to work out a reasonable and fair compromise towards that end", said Danuta Hubner, state secretary in the Polish ministry of foreign affairs and secretary of Poland's European integration committee, at the negotiating session in Brussels on 1 October.

On regional policy and co-ordination of structural instruments, she said Poland accepts the conditions for closure of the institutional part of the chapter in respect of territorial organisation, legislative framework, institutional framework, administrative capacity, programming capacity, financial and budgetary management, eligibility and financial issues. She also confirmed that Poland accepts the indicative allocations of structural funds contained in the EU proposal.

Poland will be ready to participate in the EU Cohesion policy by the day of accession, she promised, acknowledging that it must achieve appropriate capacity in the area of programming, strengthen administrative capacity for effective management of structural funds and Cohesion Fund, assure an appropriate level of domestic co-financing of programmes and projects financed by the Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund, and prepare relevant projects in line with the requirements of the acquis, so they can be implemented from the first day of Poland's accession. Preparation of Poland's national development plan for the years 2004-2006 and its operational programmes is currently under way in line with to the adopted timetable, and the final version of the plan will be presented to the European Commission by the end of 2002, she said.

Recent amendments to Poland's act on public finance specify the status of financial aid from Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund, and enable multi-annual budget planning and the necessary flexibility, and work is underway on decentralisation of funds to strengthen the co-financing capacities of regional governments. A Ministry of Economy system to collect data concerning projects co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Cohesion Fund will be operational in November 2002, and intensive preparation of projects that could be implemented immediately after Poland's accession is underway.

On justice and home affairs, Hubner said closure of the chapter was the result of "difficulty and a lot of effort - both from the European Union and Poland", said Poland's Danuta Hubner at the Brussels negotiating session on October 1. "The successful closure of this chapter was only possible thanks to our determination and a considerable amount of work necessary to achieve this common objective. We appreciate very much co-operation with the European Union in this regard."

Poland has accepted the totality of acquis in the field of Justice and Home Affairs, including the Schengen acquis, and the Polish government is currently undertaking the necessary measures for implementation and application. As a result of the negotiations it has accepted a special monitoring system, and in four months time will provide the EU with a report on progress.

So far, Hubner told the negotiating session, Poland has already moved ahead on a number of the areas the EU had signalled as priorities. On 30 July the Polish Council of Ministers adopted a new national drugs strategy for 2002-2004. …