Despite the signing of a Partnership Agreement which included provision for Operational Programme — Development of Eastern Poland, reports are emerging from the Polish authorities that the Commission is calling for this instrument to be eliminated or its scope limited. Podlaskie and Warmińsko-Mazurskie provinces, which are benefiting from this operational programme, are the regions most in need of assistance in Poland. They are characterised by a low level of economic development and are among the least developed regions in Europe. Many serious problems have already been resolved thanks to funds from Operational Programme — Development of Eastern Poland. Nonetheless, it is vital that further efforts are made to put a halt to the tendency towards stagnancy that is responsible for the marginalisation of these regions, as well as to promote their economic growth.
1. Did the Commission really call for the aforementioned programme to be eliminated or thescope of its support limited, or did the suggestion regarding the possibility of abandoningthe operational programme perhaps come from the Polish Government? In thisconnection, by what legal means does the Commission think it possible to abandonOperational Programme — Development of Eastern Poland after it was adopted inPoland’s Partnership Agreement?
2. Does the Commission have any concerns regarding the implementation of OperationalProgramme — Development of Eastern Poland in the two aforementioned provinces? Doesit have any proposals as to other specific ways in which the infrastructure andsocio‐economic tasks previously be carried out under this cohesion instrument could nowbe carried out?
3. What likelihood does the Commission see for the continued implementation of this vitalprogramme?