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Polish-Czech Border (PL, CZ)

Border Type

  • Internal border

Which entities constitute the CB region:

 Areas:

  • In Poland, the Euroregion area extends from Godów to Istebna, and in the Czech territory – from Bohumín to Hrčava. On the Polish side, the Euroregion area covers 16 municipalities and 1 district (Cieszyn) in the Silesian Province, in the Czech Republic- over 40 municipalities and districts of Karviná and Frýdek-Místek.

Broader cross border perspective:

  • In the near future the Euroregion does not plan to enlarge its territory.

Territory definition:

  • The Polish practice of Euroregional cooperation has used two models for laying legal and institutional foundations in the process of formalization of co-operation on the level of regional and local authorities. The first – the self-government model – consists of a  first stage during which the Polish side establishes a special union of municipalities which thereafter will enter into an agreement establishing a Euroregion with a similar foreign union. This type of formalization is dominant in a large part of the western and southern border areas. This is due to the fact that in those areas, agreements were signed by municipal associations and unions, which meant that respective municipalities acceded to Euroregions. According to the other model – the administrative-and self-government model – regional and local  authorities and self-governments establish a transborder interregional or cross-border union. An established Euroregion operates in compliance with the statute elaborated jointly by the parties to the agreement. This type of cooperation dominates in the south-eastern, eastern and northern border areas, where the signatories of the related Euroregional agreement were the Presidents of Provinces, which meant that the provinces acceded to the cooperation scheme.
  • Formally, affiliation to a Euroregion is tantamount to membership of a home association. Municipal unions which constitute the Euroregion community use similar principles of affiliation. The will of accession to an association is declared as a resolution of the statutorily authorized organ of the unit. Euroregions differ one from another in the number of members, which results mainly from the adopted organizational and legal models.
  • The Euroregion has no legal status; it is solely an agreement between Polish Stowarzyszenie Rozwoju i Współpracy Regionalnej „Olza” (Association of Development and Regional Co-operation „Olza”) and Czech Regionální sdružení územní spolupráce Tĕšínského Slezska (Regional Association for Territorial Co-operation of Cieszyn Silesia). It constitutes a voluntary community of Polish and Czech unions of municipalities and towns all over CieszynSilesia.

Range of activity:

  • exchange of experience and information related to regional development;
  • exchange of experience and information related to the labor market;
  • co-operation on town and country planning;
  • solution of joint problems related to transport services, communication and public safety;
  • solution of joint problems related to ecology and natural environment;
  • co-operation on prevention and liquidation of consequences of calamities;
  • co-operation on business and trade;
  • development of tourism, tourist traffic incl. further streamlining of the border traffic;
  • actions aimed at supporting the development of culture, education and sport, especially exchange of pertinent information;
  • cultural exchange and care of joint cultural heritage;
  • co-operation of rescue and mountain rescue services.

Map of the Euroregion Śląsk Cieszyński (CieszynSilesia).

Source: Główny Urząd Statystyczny we Wrocławiu (Central Statistical Office in Wrocław)

Basic data of the border region:

Population:

  • § 305 129 inhabitants (Polish part of the Euroregion, Stowarzyszenie Rozwoju i Współpracy Regionalnej „Olza” territory)
  • § 351 606 inhabitants (Czech part of the Euroregion, Regionální sdružení územní spolupráce Tĕšínského Slezska territory)

Area of co-operation:

  • § 967 km2 (Polish part of the Euroregion, Stowarzyszenie Rozwoju i Współpracy Regionalnej „Olza” territory)
  • § 763 km2 (Czech part of the Euroregion, Regionální sdružení územní spolupráce Tĕšínského Slezska territory)

The most important cities – main euroregional cross-boder co-operation supporters:

  • § Cieszyn, Istebna, Jastrzębie-Zdrój, Skoczów, Ustroń, Wisła, Zebrzydowice (Polish part of the Euroregion, Stowarzyszenie Rozwoju i Współpracy Regionalnej „Olza” territory)
  • § Bohumín, Český Těšín, Havířov, Jablunkov, Karviná, Třinec (Czech part of the Euroregion, Regionální sdružení územní spolupráce Tĕšínského Slezska territory)

Structure of economy (only Cieszyn district – Polish part of the Euroregion):

Number of institutions in Cieszyn district in 2009 according to Polish activity classification (PKD):

Source: Cieszyński Barometr Rozwoju Gospodarczego (Cieszyn Barometer of Economy Development)

General specialties of the border region:

  • § Śląsk Cieszyński (Cieszyn Silesia) is a particularly difficult region in the Polish-Czech borderland. Initially, this region was a part of  the Great Moravian State. Before 991, it was a part of the Polish State, but at the turn of 1289 and 1290, it obtained the status of a separate  Cieszyn Duchy, which as early as 1327 was incorporated by the Bohemian Crown. When the Piast dynasty had come to an end in 1653, the Duchy became the property of the Habsburg family. That status quo went on until the fall of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1918. Then, between the newly reborn Poland and a newly established state – Czechoslovakia, a conflict occured about said territory which was divided on July 28th 1920, by a decision made at the conference at Spa of the Council of Ambassadors of the great world powers. An artificial division of an area which hitherto was historically, ethnographically and socially coherent caused a few dozen thousand or so Poles to cross over to the border areas of the Czech side. This fact has determined the character of today’s Polish-Czech contacts, usually based upon animosities, claims and conflicts.

Governance/ institutionalisation ofcross border co-operation within the region:

Degree of co-operation:

Short history of co-operation structures:

  • An intensification of Polish-Czech relations within the divided region took place after 1989 , when the totalitarian regimes in Poland and Czechoslovakia had fallen. The first steps under the aforementioned cooperation were taken by the local authorities of Cieszyn and Czech Cieszyn (Český Těšín), which gave rise to further actions. Formal cooperation between the Polish and Czech partners started with the signing of an agreement on regional coo-peration on March 2nd 1993 in Czech Cieszyn. Three years later, on January 10th 1996, another agreement was signed at Kyjov paving the way for a coordination group responsible for further development of Polish-Czech cooperation. The group dealt with exchange of information on culture, sports and tourist travel. Co-operation in the field of information grew strong, which naturally led to the idea of establishing a Euroregion.
  • The Śląsk Cieszyński (Cieszyn Silesia) Euroregion is one of the newest in Poland. The pertinent agreement was signed on April 22nd 1998 by the Polish Stowarzyszenie Rozwoju i Współpracy Regionalnej „Olza” (Association of Development and Regional Co-operation „Olza”) and Czech Regionální sdružení územní spolupráce Tĕšínského Slezska (Regional Association for Territorial Co-operation of Cieszyn Silesia). It constitutes a voluntary community of Polish and Czech unions of municipalities and towns all over CieszynSilesia.

Organizations which constitute the Śląsk Cieszyński (CieszynSilesia) Euroregion.

Structure of the organs of the Śląsk Cieszyński (CieszynSilesia) Euroregion.

  • The Council is the supreme organ of the Euroregion. It consists of eight members, four from each party. The Euroregion Council elects a President and his Deputy from their ranks, in compliance with the principle of division of functions between the two parties and alternation of terms of office. The term of office of the Euroregion Council corresponds with those of the delegating organs of the respective parties. Ordinary meetings of the Euroregion Council are organised at last twice a year, and one of them is held parallelly with  the general assembly of the representatives of municipalities and associations so as to become acquainted with the Euroregion’s activities. An extraordinary meeting of the Euroregion Council may be convened at any time on motion of two members of the Euroregion Council. A meeting of the Council is always convened by the Euroregion Secretariat. The Council’s tasks consists in  passing the Euroregion statute, making decisions on joint projects, the conditions and terms of appropriating joint means, and reporting on their utilization, appointing of Secretariat members, establishing working groups, and delegating representatives to represent the Euroregions to third parties. The Council may invite to a meeting also representatives of authorities and government agencies, granting them advisory capacity. The Secretariat is the executive organ of the Euroregion. It consists of two secretaries who manage the Secretariat office. Each of them has their own deputy. The Secretaries  deal with current affairs on their own account, but in other issues they have to act in agreement. The Secretariat Office deals also with administrative matters of the Euroregion, and its operation is a private matter for each party concerned which must secure appropriate conditions for its operation. The responsibilities of the Euroregion Secretariat  include representation to third parties, organising meetings of the Euroregion Council, preparation and submission of resolution drafts of the Euroregion Council, preparation of information materials for the Assembly of representatives of national municipal associations, execution of the resolutions of the Euroregion Council and management of the Euroregion Secretariat.

Structure of the organs of  the Stowarzyszenie Rozwoju i Współpracy Regionalnej, Olza” (Association of Development and Regional Co-operation, Olza”) – Polish partner of the agreement under a name Euroregion Śląsk Cieszyński (CieszynSilesia).

Main Developers and drivers of crossborder co-operation:

European fund management

  • Both Euroregion Śląsk Cieszyński (CieszynSilesia) and the rest of euroregions located on the Polish borders managing European funds supporting cross-border co-oparation. In Poland and Czech Republic euroregions managing only the Microproject funds where the sum of supporting amounts up to 30 000 EUR. Cross-border funds (especially Operational Programmes for Cross-border Co-operation) where beneficiers could applicate for higher grants are managed directly by Ministry of Regional Development (Joint Technical Secretariats).
  • From 1999 to 2003 Euroregion managed of Joint Small Project Fund (Phare CBC) and supported 94 projects (Polish part of the Euroregion – Stowarzyszenie Rozwoju I Współpracy Regionalnej „Olza”) up to the sum of 500 000 EUR;

From 2004 to 2006 Euroregion managed of Microproject Fund of Joint Initiative Interreg III A Czech Republic-Poland and supported 50 projects (Polish part of the Euroregion – Stowarzyszenie Rozwoju I Współpracy Regionalnej „Olza”) up to the sum of 500 000 EUR.

Now Euroregion is managing Microproject Fund (Operational Programme for Cross-border Co-operation betweenCzechRepublicandPoland).

Political level, particular cities:

  • Polish part of the Euroregion, Stowarzyszenie Rozwoju i Współpracy Regionalnej „Olza” members:

- 16 municipalities (Brenna Chybie, Cieszyn, Dębowiec, Godów, Goleszów, Hażlach, Istebna, Jasienica, Jastrzębie-Zdrój, Jaworze, Skoczów, Strumień, Ustroń, Wisła, Zebrzydowice)

- 1 district (Cieszyn district)

  • Czech part of the Euroregion, Regionální sdružení územní spolupráce Tĕšínského Slezska members:

- Svaz obcí okresu Karviná (Municipalities union of Karviná district) – members of the union are: Albrechtice,   Bohumín,  Chotěbuz, Dětmarovice,   Dolní Lutyně,  Doubrava,   Havířov,  Horní Suchá,  Karviná,  Petrovice u Karviné,  Rychvald, Orlová, Petřvald, Stonava;

-  Regionálni rada rozvoje a spolupráce  se sidlem v Třinci (Regional Development and Co-operation Council in Třinec) – members of the Cauncil are: a) municipalities and associations (Bukovec, Bystřice nad Olší, Český Těšín, Hnojník, Horní Tošanovice, Jablunkov, Mosty u Jablunkova, Třinec, Vendryně, Sdružení obcí Jablunkovska / Association of Jablunkov municipalities /); b) enterprises (Třinecké Železárny a.s.,  Armagas s.r.o, KARTA Group a.s., Kazuist, Nemocnice Podlesí, RPR-Wterm, STEELTEC CZ s.r.o., Třinecká projekce a.s., Třinecký inženýring a.s.; c) Institut EuroSchola o.s., Muzeum Těšínska, TJ TŽ Třinec, Slezská diakonie, ZO OS KOVO, Kvalifikační a personální agentura o.p.s., Občanské sdružení TRIANON;

- Sdružení obcí Jablunkovska (Association of Jablunkov municipalities) – members of the association are: Bocanovice, Bukovec, Bystřice nad Olší, Dolní Lomná, Horní Lomná, Hudek, Hrčava, Jablunkov, Košařiska, Milíkov, Mosty u Jablunkova, Návsí, Nýdek, Písečná, Písek, Vendryně

Examples other main players from the range of cross-border co-operation (Polish part of the Euroregion, Stowarzyszenie Rozwoju i Współpracy Regionalnej „Olza” territory:

  • Muzeum Śląska Cieszyńskiego (Museum of Cieszyn Silesia), Książnica Cieszyńska (Old Cieszyn Library), Biblioteka Miejska w Cieszynie (Municipal Library in Cieszyn), Biblioteka Miejska w Jastrzębiu-Zdroju (Municipal Library in Jastrzębie Zdrój), Centrum Misji i Ewangelizacji Kościoła Ewangelicko-Augsburskiego (Centre for Mission and Evangelisation Protestant Church), Stowarzyszenie Solidarność Polsko-Czesko-Słowacka (Association Polish-Czech-Slovak Solidarity), Stowarzyszenie Pomocy Wzajemnej „Być Razem” (Association for Help „Be Togather”, Muzeum Drukarstwa (Museum of Printing), Śląski Oddział Straży Granicznej (Border Guard – Silesian Department),  Komenda Powiatowa Policji w Cieszynie (Police District Headquarters in Cieszyn),  Komenda Powiatowa Państwowej Straży Pożarnej w Cieszynie (Fire-brigade District Headquarters in Cieszyn).

Cross border project funding characteristics:

Thematic focus:

Stowarzyszenie Rozwoju i Współpracy Regionalnej „Olza” – range of activity (the same as euroregional):

  • exchange of experience and information related to the regional development;
  • exchange of experience and information related to the labor market;
  • cooperation on town and country planning;
  • solution of joint problems related to forwarding and transport services, communication and public safety;
  • solution of joint problems related to ecology and natural environment;
  • co-operation on prevention and liquidation of consequences of calamities;
  • co-operation on business and trade;
  • development of tourism, tourist traffic incl. further streamlining of the border traffic;
  • actions aimed at supporting the development of culture, education and sport, especially exchange of pertinent information;
  • cultural exchange and care of joint cultural heritage;
  • co-operation of rescue and mountain rescue services.

Mayor Projects in thecross border region:

Examples of projects prepared and realized by Stowarzyszenie Rozwoju i Współpracy Regionalnej „Olza” since 1999:

  • Project title: Inforeg 2000, grant sum: 43 200 EUR, fund: Phare Credo; scope: tourism
  • Project title: Regiotour. Cycling routes in the Euroregion Cieszyn Silesia, grant sum: 271 000 EUR, fund: Phare Credo, scope: tourism
  • Project title: Euroregional Centre for European Information, grant sum: 9 000 EUR, fund: Phare European Integration, scope: promotion
  • Project title: Modernization of access roads to border crossings in the Cieszyn region, grant sum: 2 000 000 EUR, fund: Phare CBC, scope: environmental protection and infrastructure
  • Project title: Image prospect, grant sum: 2 500 EUR, fund: Phare CBC, scope: promotion
  • Project title: Infobusiness – promotional materials for the Cieszyn Silesia Euroregion, grant sum: 4 000 EUR, fund: Phare CBC, scope: promotion
  • Project title: Border Crossing. Model study on border crossing in  year 2005, grant sum: 3 500 EUR, fund: Phare CBC, scope: environmental protection and infrastructure
  • Project title: Interturism. Joint strategy of tourist development  in the Silesian  and Silesian-Moravian Beskidy Mouintains, grant sum: 4 000 EUR, fund: Phare CBC, scope: tourism
  • Project title: Cracow-Moravia-Wien Greenway preparing technical project including stock-taking, grant sum: 3 000 EUR, fund: Silesian Voivodeship, scope: tourism
  • Project title: Eurogreen PL. Preparing new tourism products in Euroregion Cieszyn Silesia within the framework of Greenways, Ecomuseum and Local Product Programmes, grant sum: 4 000 EUR, fund: Partnership for Environment, scope: tourism
  • Project title: Inforeg 2006 , grant sum: 22 462 EUR, fund: Interreg IIIA, scope: tourism
  • Project title: Cieszyn Silesia Photo Bank, grant sum: 5 400 EUR, fund: Interreg IIIA, scope: tourism
  • Project title: Infotur, grant sum: 70 000 EUR, fund: Interreg IIIA, scope: tourism
  • Project title: Schengen – the zone of new possibilities. Organization international conference dedicated supporting Polish-Czech cross-border co-operation, grant sum: 2 500 EUR, fund: Silesian Voivodeship, scope: european integration and international co-operation
  • Project title: International seminar: Feasibility study of EuroInstitute PL-CZ, grant sum: 1 000 EUR, fund: Silesian Voivodeship, scope: European integration and international co-operation
  • Project title: Infotur-2, grant sum: 2 500 EUR, fund: Oparational Programme for Transborder Co-Operation, scope: tourism
  • Project title: We want you know about us. Euroregion Cieszyn Silesia as a school of european integration, grant sum: 7 500 EUR, fund: Oparational Programme for Transborder Co-Operation, scope: promotion
  • Project title: Feasibility study of EuroInstitute PL-CZ (first stage) – international workshops, grant sum: 3 500 EUR, fund: Silesian Voivodeship, scope: European integration and international co-operation
  • Project title: Infotur-3, grant sum: 35 000 EUR, fund: Oparational Programme for Transborder Co-Operation, scope: tourism
  • Project title: Feasibility study of EuroInstitute PL-CZ-SK (second stage), grant sum: 3 500 EUR, fund: Silesian Voivodeship, scope: European integration and international co-operation
  • Project title: Adaptation of IT public administration system for electronic servicing in municipalities Brenna, Chybie, Dębowiec, Goleszów, Istebna, Strumień, Wisła, grant sum: 150 000 EUR, fund: Regional Operational Programme Silesian Voivodeship, scope: municipal administration

Current challenges for co-operation

Polish-Czech cross-border co-operation barriers in Śląsk Cieszyński (Cieszyn Silesia) Euroregion:

Organizational:
  • lack of appriopriate regulations and low norms
  • organizational-law differencies
  • lack of partner equivalent partner
  • complicated procedure of grant application
  • bereaucracy
Institutional:
  • lack of appriopriate institutions supporting organizations to preparing and realizing projects
  • lack of competence from the range of european project realization
  • low partner activity from the range of co-operation
  • insufficient number of staff in organization
  • high level of own activities
  • underdeveloped information system
Financial:
  • lack or limited financial sources of organization which want to co-operate
  • lack of system which secures own deposit for project realization
  • low efficiency of recon up project grants
  • limited number of finacial sources within the framework of grant programmes
Social:
  • difficulty of using foreign (partner) language
  • cultural differencies
Environmental:
  • far distance

Future cross border co-operation

EGTC should be a chance for developing the Euroregion and implementing changes in a large scale, but in case it’s a new and complex instrument this process will be testing slowly. Planning of using EGTC on the borderland by euroregional structures (and partners), will be probably directed to establishing Polish-Czech-Slovak EuroInstitute – cross-border training and consultative centre.


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