Operational Programme 'Lesser Poland'

Programme under Convergence objective co-funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)


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On 6 September 2007, The European Commission approved the regional development programme for the Polish Voivodship of Lesser Poland for the period 2007-2013, the Operational Programme "Małopolskie Regional Operational Programme 2007-2013 ERDF". This programme involves Community support for Małopolska within the framework of the "Convergence" objective. The total budget of the programme is around EUR 1.518 million and the Community investment through the ERDF amounts to around EUR 1.290 million (approximately 1.9 % of the total EU money invested in Poland under Cohesion policy 2007-2013).

1. The purpose and aim of the EU investment

The Małopolskie Regional Operational Programme 2007-2013 ERDF is the region’s first ever large-scale, coordinated, multi-annual and financially stable programme of development measures.

The objective of the Programme is to create conditions facilitating economic growth and employment. In particular, this objective will be achieved through infrastructure investments enhancing competitiveness, facilitating the development of innovation and the information society, improving the quality of the natural and cultural environment.

Consequently, the Programme will become the region’s most important instrument for making the structural changes happen. It will also be an important tool for the delivery of the revised Lisbon Strategy. The Lisbon objectives allocation in the Programme is about EUR 460 million.

2. The expected impact of the investment

According to a macroeconomic modelling projection the programme is expected to deliver additional GDP of 1.84% and over 9 000 new jobs. Over 1 000 projects concerning direct investment aid to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) will be financed under the programme.

3. Priority axes

The principal objectives of the 2007-2013 Małopolskie Regional Operational Programme 2007-2013 ERDF are to increase the competitiveness and innovative capacity of Małopolska, to enhance the internal cohesion of the region based on the sustainable growth principle and to the develop institutional potential of Małopolska-based entities.

The Małopolskie Regional Operational Programme 2007-2013 ERDF is structured into the following priorities:

Priority 1: Conditions for the development of the knowledge society

The priority is compatible with the e-Europe initiative and its continuation (European Information Society 2010). A true advantage of the region is its potential with respect to higher education and research. Development in these two areas is a major source of competitive advantage of the region in Europe and facilitates growth in innovation investments. Available under this priority will be non-repayable aid with respect to activities undertaken within two main areas: investments in higher education and life-long education infrastructure, and investments in infrastructure and technology with a view to developing the information society.

Priority 2: Regional opportunity economy

The activities financed under this priority will be focused on the creation of a strong and stable SME sector. This is to be pursued through direct and indirect support for SMEs, consisting of investment grants within the agreed framework of public aid, better accessibility of capital via creating new and improving existing financial instruments offered by business-support institutions as well as via facilitating the transfer of innovative and state-of-the-art solutions from the academic to the business environment. Furthermore, entrepreneurs will be encouraged to use environmentally-friendly processes and products. All these activities will contribute to the elimination of basic barriers hampering the development of Małopolska businesses and will trigger changes in their manner of operation so that higher added value is generated.

Priority 3: Tourism and culture industry

Development of tourism has a major effect on the competitive standing of a region and on enhancing its economic potential. With its unique natural assets and cultural and historical heritage, Małopolska is one of the most often visited tourist areas in Poland. Actions will be targeted to opening new opportunities as well as developing existing developmental conditions for businesses operating in the tourist and tourist- related sector. As part of the activities aimed at enhancing the tourist attractiveness of the region, projects concerning the protection of the cultural and natural heritage of Małopolska and support for the institutions involved in the preservation and presentation of this heritage will be undertaken. One of the reasons for providing support to this sector, apart from rescuing the cultural heritage from destruction, is to increase the economic importance of the culture industry via broadening the range of cultural events offered to the "consumers of culture".

Priority 4: Infrastructure for economic development

A major objective under this priority is the reduction of spatial barriers hampering economic development, consequent on poor inner accessibility of the region and shortage of attractive investment areas.

Expansion and upgrading of the road transport infrastructure – an increased importance of public transport and availability of attractive investment areas will result in higher profitability of investments in Małopolska. The improved transport system (with enhanced passenger transport) will attract more investors, both domestic and external, to Małopolska. The development of road connections with the existing and planned sections of the motorway will serve to implement community guidelines concerning the development of trans-European transport networks (TEN-T).

Priority 5: Kraków Metropolitan Area

Under this priority a comprehensive support of the most important growth centre in Małopolska – Kraków Metropolitan Area (KMA) will be financed. The interventions will be aimed at broadening the range and volume of metropolitan services offered, at strengthening Research and Development (R&D) establishments located in the metropolis, at improving the internal transport system within the KMA and its accessibility by air transport. As a result, the key metropolitan functions and its pro-development impact on other parts of the region will be enhanced. The importance and competitiveness of Kraków as a European economic, medical (specialist treatment), cultural, tourist and academic centre will grow.

Priority 6: Intra-regional cohesion

The Towns and cities of Małopolska play the role of local poles of growth, however the urbanisation level of the region is limited, and there are considerable spatial disproportions in social and economic development. The key objective under this priority axis is to ensure intra-regionally cohesive conditions facilitating the personal development of the inhabitants of Małopolska and its businesses, irrespective of the place of residence or operation. Activities undertaken in this respect will be focused on: revitalising degraded areas, including those with residential developments, providing villages and rural towns with basic social infrastructure: sport and educational infrastructure and childcare facilities and improved availability of healthcare.

Priority 7: Infrastructure for environmental protection

Rich natural resources (unique landscape, protected areas, forests, water deposits, mineral water springs) are a true advantage of the Małopolska region and create an opportunity for its development. These assets are not utilised to their full extent due to the poor municipal infrastructure for environmental protection. Activities financed under this priority will be connected with water and waste-water management, with the production of “ecological” energy, with the upgrading of heat distribution networks, and with waste management should result in reducing the adverse impact of human activity upon the natural environment, which is one of the underlying principles of sustainable growth policy. The interventions in the renewable energy sector will increase power supply security as well as energy efficiency, which will facilitate the implementation of the provisions of the Directive 2004/8/EC.

Priority 8: Trans-regional co-operation

This priority will concentrate on the promotion of Małopolska and encouraging the participation of the entities operating in the region in European co-operation networks. This type of activities will facilitate a transfer of knowledge and experience between Małopolska organisations and other European entities. Participation in the Initiative "Regions for Economic Change" is permitted under this priority axis as well as the implementation of activities relating to the outcomes of the Initiative.

Priority 9: Technical assistance

There is also provision for technical assistance in order to implement the programme. Financial support is available covering administration, monitoring, evaluation and control. Under this priority axis support will also be granted for the financing of pilot projects including the Małopolskie Project Pipeline and the Małopolskie Development Policy Observatory.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Lesser Poland'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

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Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Conditions for the development of the knowledge society 162 841 230 28 736 688 191 577 918
Regional opportunity economy 160 708 698 28 360 358 189 069 056
Tourism and culture industry 101 004 036 17 824 242 118 828 278
Infrastructure for economic development 390 836 457 68 971 140 459 807 597
Kraków Metropolitan Area 171 897 053 30 334 774 202 231 827
Intra-regional cohesion 155 981 854 27 526 210 183 508 064
Infrastructure for environmental protection 93 003 516 16 412 385 109 415 901
Trans-regional co-operation 10 000 399 1 764 776 11 765 175
Technical assistance 44 001 159 7 764 910 51 766 069
Total 1 290 274 402 227 695 483 1 517 969 885