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Warsaw capital region

Introduction

As a consequence of the NUTS 2016 revision, the Mazowieckie region (so far, a NUTS 2 region) was recoded, with force from 1 January 2018, as a NUTS 1 region (macroregion) and split into two new NUTS 2 regions:

  • Warsaw capital region (Warszawski stołeczny)
  • Mazowieckie region without Warsaw (Mazowiecki regionalny).

The Warsaw capital region consists of three statistical subregions (NUTS 3): Warsaw city, West Warsaw subregion and East Warsaw subregion, or in terms of Polish administration, of nine counties (powiaty). It has a surface area of 610.4 thousand ha and in 2019 counted 3.053m inhabitants, of which 1.778m lived in the city of Warsaw (Central Statistical Office, 2019. Regions of Poland Report 2019).
Warsaw as the capital (and by far the largest) city in Poland has always held a leading position in terms not only of political life but as well of economic activity, higher education and research, transport and other parameters of general development. After Poland’s 1989 democratic transition, and in particular after the country’s accession to the EU in 2004, the capital region has become a primary focus for both domestic and foreign investment. Due to the favourable geopolitical location and the existence of wide, well-educated personnel who know foreign languages, Warsaw has become the most important Polish hub for the Shared Services Centres (SSC) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). What is more, the city ranks second in Central and Eastern Europe in terms of employment in business service centres. As of the first quarter of 2020, 279 service centers operated in the Warsaw capital region. (Business services in Warsaw. Report prepared for the City of Warsaw by the Association of Business Service Leaders, 2018). In addition, region’s location close to the Eastern national and EU border has made it a major hub for enterprises aiming not only at the Polish market but also at the larger East European area. As a consequence, the region has the largest concentration of business activities and R&D organisations in Poland. In 2017, as much as 22.6% of Polish entities conducting R&D activity was located in Warsaw capital region (Central Statistical Office, Local Data Bank).
Inside the region there is still a closer metropolitan agglomeration consisting of the city of Warsaw and 40 adjacent communes, established in 2014 under the EU’s Integrated Territorial Investments scheme and called the Warsaw Functional Area (Warszawski Obszar Funkcjonalny). The WFA is intended to be an area that is bound by the existence of mutual links between municipalities.
The separation from the new Mazowieckie region under NUTS 2016 underlines the successes and leading position of the Warsaw capital region but will as a mid-term consequence lead to the phasing-out from the EU’s structural funds support. On the other hand, such a solution should cause that more funds can be allocated to the development of regional Mazovia. It is expected that this will level out negative developmental differences between two regions of the Mazowieckie macroregion.

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