More than one half of the €25bn in EU structural funds earmarked for the ten new members over the period 20042006, will go to Poland. From the resulting total of €12.8bn, two thirds (€8.3bn) are reserved for regional development (ERDF) and one third (€4.2bn) comes from the Cohesion Fund. The allocation for transport (TEN-T) was a mere €1.5bn in glaring contrast to the €600bn listed in October 2003 as the total cost of the trans-European network by 2020. This discrepancy suggests that much more money may become available after 2006. Indeed, in a memo of the Directorate-General for Energy and Transport [COM (2003) 0132 final, p. 2] we read:
1.1. An under-funded network. The difficulty facing trans-European network projects is funding. The estimated cost of the trans-European transport network alone is around €350 billion for all the projects to be completed by 2010, plus over €100 billion more for projects involving the future Member States.
Evidently, the €100bn is the total cost of projects ascribed to the ten new membersto which the EU may contribute 2030%, at most. Still, bearing in mind our time horizon, which goes far beyond 2010, we may confidently look into the future.
The EU priorities with regard to transport projects are spelled out unequivocally in the general rule: "At least 55% of funds for TEN-Ts will be given to railway projects and not more than 25% to roads."
This follows logically from the basic assumption of the EU, that Rail must have priority over Road because, among the different modes of (ground) transport, Rail is the most environment-conserving as well as the least energy-consuming. Whereas current plans will expire by 2020, the principle will prevail as long as Rail maintains its edge over Road.
The quoted figures on EU outlays add sense to recent economic forecasts which predict that most new EU members, Poland included, will attain the
present GDP of Western Europe in 2530 years. This is fully in tune with EU Macroeconomic Assumptions
[Appendix 1, p. 15:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/dgs/energy_transport/figures/ trends_2030/ index_en.htm],
where Poland's Gross Domestic Product in 2030 is estimated at €614bn, as against Spain's €609bn in 2000 (Poland's population is a few percent smaller than Spain's). And in Purchasing Power Standards, by 2030 Poland will have gained a distinct edge over Spain of 2000. The steep rise in the Polish GDP in the first half of 2004 (6%) seems to justify this optimism.
Therefore, it will be only fair to assume that by 2030 Poland will enjoy the same prosperity as do the richest countries of Western Europe today.