Poland is one of the poorer EU countries and with a population of about 38 million it makes up more than half of the population of the 10 states that acceded to the EU in 2004. This means that almost half of the enlargement contribution goes to Poland. CHF 193.5 are available for infrastructure alone. The approval of the first projects is a major step towards implementation.
Asbestos removal and an improved waste management system
Two of the nine projects concerned the improvement of the waste management system in the voivodship Lublin. Switzerland is supporting Lublin's efforts to put in place a system of monitoring and of disposal of asbestos as well as its efforts to remove material containing asbestos from illegal dumps. It is also renewing the rooves of 6600 houses. As part of an additional project Switzerland will provide special support for the Lubartów region, where 1700 houses will have asbestos-affected rooves removed. A new waste disposal plant will be built in which it will be possible to separate and to recycle waste. The Swiss contribution to these two projects will total about CHF 25 million.
Using solar energy and geo-thermal energy
Poland is lagging behind seriously in the promotion of renewable energies. It obtains more than 90% of its energy from domestic fossil fuels, in particular coal. To meet the EU climate goals by 2020, Poland must produce 15% renewable energy. Five of the nine projects are designed to support Poland in its efforts to meet the climate goals. Solar systems, photo-voltaic plants and heat pumps will be installed in private households as well as in public buildings such as schools, student halls of residence and hospitals as part of the project. One project focuses for example on the Suski region of Little Poland. Here there are five Natura 2000 protected areas badly affected by pollution. Most of the emissions are caused by the use of coal for heating water and for central heating. In order to improve the quality of air, solar power plants will be set up for heating water in over 2300 residential buildings and solar power plants will be built to supply the regional hospital in Sucha Beskidza with hot water. Switzerland is supporting the five approved projects with a contribution of around CHF 56 million.
Improving public transport
In the area of public transport two projects have been approved. One of the projects aims to improve public transport in the northern voivodship of Pomerania. Four new, modern, low-emission diesel locomotives will be added to the public transport network on the 60 km stretch between Marienstadt and Grudziadz in the north of Poland. At the moment about half a million people use this service every year and they would benefit from better connections, shorter journeys and more comfort and safety. Priority will be given to ensuring that these new trains, unlike the old ones, are accessible for older and handicapped passengers. Switzerland's contribution to the two approved public transport projects will be around CHF 28 million.