Infrastructure of rural areas in Poland in strategic government and non-government documents

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Summary:

The work contains an analysis and initial evaluation (initial due to the character of sources) of 15 most important strategic documents developed in Poland between 2000 and 2006 (see: References) which have been already partly implemented. These comprise in the first place government documents prepared prior to Poland’s accession into the UE (2000–2004) and after the accession (2004–2006 and the following years). The documents of the first group were supposed to make Poland ready for the “EU membership” and to meet “the EU requirements”, whereas the later ones primarily focus on absorption of the EU funds. Because of the scope and character of the conference the Author addressed only the issues concerning rural areas and infrastructure of rural space in Poland. To generalize the discussion presented in this paper the following (briefest) conclusions may be drawn: Discussed strategies use a short and medium time horizon, whereas the main point of a strategy is its long-range character; The conducted analyses demonstrate that developing so called “strategies” was enforced in Poland by an approaching accession into the EU (Integrated Regional Operational Programme – IROP, National Strategy for Regional Development – NSRD, National Development Plan – NDP-1) - the first ones were created exclusively for the “absorption of the European Union funds”, the other (NDP 1 and 2, and National Strategic Frames of Reference – NSFR) are “a Polish variant of the Lisbon strategy” (no comments !); Provisions in the most important government strategic documents (e.g. objectives, priorities, programmes, etc.) were constructed in such a way that they may fit almost any EU member state (which means that their authors have not considered historical and cultural heritage of Poland, specific character of our country, achievements, Polish experiences with all the consequences, etc.); The other disadvantage of the government documents is confidence that “rapid economic growth” and increase in GDP would actually solve all problems in Poland and will allow to “catch up” with the “old” EU countries. These are “aims in themselves” and the documents lack the assessment of social, economic or natural consequences of such approach. The attitude presented in the government documents stating that the increase will be financed mainly from the EU funds is hazardous, particularly for Poland (it means that Brussels will decide about what, where and at what price will develop in Poland (see so called pro-Union and not “pro-Polish” priorities); Rural areas and the infrastructure in these territories have been mentioned the government documents in various ways: – Have not been addressed at all – Have been presented only partly or in fragments – Have been treated selectively, incompletely or even marginally (many strategies reduce rural development to “multifunctionality” with still “prevailing agronomic function”, which is major simplification. Lack of an overall suggestion of possible solution to numerous problems important for rural development is a common disadvantage of these “strategies” The need of “sustainable” development concerning rural areas, emphasized e.g. in National Development Plan 2007–2013 is of solely verbal character, therefore the need for a thorough reconstruction of this and other documents. The most serious deficiency of presented “strategies” is their lack of long-term vision of 20, 30, 50 year development of Poland (applies to all government documents); “Strategy for the development of Poland to 2020” published in 2001 by Forecast Committee “Poland 2000 Plus” at PAU should be “intellectual basis for government strategies”.

Citation:

Siemiński J. 2006. Infrastructure of rural areas in Poland in strategic government and non-government documents. Infrastruktura i Ekologia Terenów Wiejskich. Nr 2006/ 2 (1)