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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Investments in energy transformation, digitalization and health care. Poland’s neighbors are already benefiting from the Reconstruction Fund

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Poland is still counting the days without money from the KPO, meanwhile other EU countries are counting how much they have already spent from EU funds. The money can be used to improve infrastructure or the health care system. Countries in our region have already used the money in this way. The Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Baltic states have long ago submitted applications for payments and received hundreds of millions of euros.

Among our neighbors, Slovakia is the leader in achieving milestones, having already unlocked two tranches of payments – receiving almost two billion euros from the Reconstruction Fund. Renovation of 30,000 buildings and adapting them to climate change, support for social welfare and the health care system, and environmental protection in Połoniny – these are just some of the purposes for which these funds are intended.

In total, Slovakia is counting on the payment of EUR 6.5 billion in grants, but the Czechs will receive the largest amount – over EUR 7 billion. We are talking about smaller amounts in the case of the smaller Baltic states, although almost one billion euros for Estonia, almost two billion euros for Latvia and over two billion for Lithuania are a significant injection compared to the GDP of these countries. All these countries also sent their National Reconstruction Plans on time, and two years ago they received the first advance payments from the Reconstruction Fund.

The European Commission raised the most question marks regarding the KPO sent from Prague. Due to the allegations against the former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, Brussels added additional milestones to the KPO regarding strengthening control of budget expenditure and mechanisms ensuring that the Czech Prime Minister’s holding will not be privileged in obtaining EU funds. The Czechs have introduced appropriate regulations and the first tranche – almost EUR 1 billion – is already in their account. These are the funds that Prague allocated mainly to digitalization in schools and health care, as well as renovation of bridges and railway crossings.

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There is still no money from the KPO, local government officials are suspending investmentsTVN24

EU reform plan

The Baltic countries also had to introduce laws combating corruption in public procurement and money laundering, but when money flows, they focus on digitalization, prepare broadband Internet connections in administration and education, and connect rural areas to high-speed Internet. For Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, investing in energy transformation is of great importance, Estonia is developing hydrogen technologies, Latvia is modernizing energy transmission networks, Lithuania is building 53,000 charging points for electric vehicles. The latter country has experienced how carefully the European Commission monitors the implementation of milestones. During the first payment, Brussels recognized the completion of 31 of the 33 planned tasks, rejecting two of them and reducing the tranche for Lithuania accordingly. Which is now an example for other countries and a reminder that the Reconstruction Fund is nothing more than an EU reform plan, where money only flows when subsequent tasks are performed.

Facts about the World TVN24 BiS

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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