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15.09.2008 - Press release
Start of the cooperation programme with Poland

On 15 September 2008, a public conference was held in Warsaw to mark the start of the cooperation programme between Poland and Switzerland. The Polish Minister for Regional Development, Elzbieta Bienkowska, addressed the 500 participants at the conference and expressed Poland’s high expectations regarding cooperation with Switzerland. As Switzerland’s representative at the conference, Martin Dahinden, head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, confirmed Switzerland’s interest in good and close contacts with Poland.

Starting from left:
- Janusz Mikula: Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Regional Development
- Elzbieta Bienkowska: Minister of Regional Development
- Martin Dahinden: General Director, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
- Translator

Switzerland benefits both politically and economically from the integration of the most dynamic growth region of the European Union. As a responsible partner of the EU, Switzerland is willing to share the financial burden of the integration process. On 26 November 2006, the Swiss electorate approved in a referendum the so-called “Enlargement contribution” of CHF 1 billion for the ten countries that joined the European Union on I May 2004. Of this sum, the sum of CHF 489 million has been earmarked for Poland. 

In the initial phase of the programme, proposals for projects in the following two fields of activity will be submitted: regional development in the less developed south-eastern part of Poland, and securing Schengen external borders. Following a pre-selection process by Poland, Switzerland will make final decisions regarding the financing of individual projects. Implementation of the projects is expected to begin in 2010. Other areas to be launched in 2009 at the latest include the environment and infrastructure, promotion of the private sector, and scholarships, research and health.

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