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Representatives of Polish cities met in Wroclaw to discuss Poland's metropolitan policy...

Yes, this is the third such meeting in our city. The first time we met was in February 2023. In three months we are planning another one, also in Wroclaw. We are discussing the Metropolitan Act, which is intended to serve not only the Wroclaw metropolitan area, but also the metropolitan areas of Warsaw, Szczecin, Poznan, Gdansk, Lodz, Lubin, Krakow and the only legalized one, that is, Upper Silesia. Representatives of the largest cities, regional capitals, but also practitioners and experts came to us. This team has been working for a year now.

What was the topic of the meeting this time?

We are preparing a draft framework law, on the basis of which very precise solutions will be created to serve the local community. We are talking about metropolitan transportation, waste policy and green transformation. For this we need both legal, financial and organizational instruments.

The essence of our talks is not political, but pragmatic. We are committed to writing a good law with regulations on who can associate and what formal instruments such a creation is entitled to. This law is currently being prepared, and then it will have to go through the entire legislative process.

In the next three months, we want to draft this law and submit a timetable for work by the Joint Commission of Government and Local Self-Government. After that, work is planned in a working group coordinated by the Union of Polish Metropolises. Ultimately, it will be voted on by the Sejm.

We have ambitions to do it by the end of 2024. This is as feasible as possible, given the scale of the experts working on this project. The second part is to establish the statute, which will look different in each city, because we have slightly different ideas about what we would like to realize through this new metropolitan creation. At the same time, we are also keen to guarantee its sustainability so that these activities will continue for decades to come.

Polish metropolises will be able to count on special support?

A metropolis is a dozen or more cooperating municipalities centered around the largest city. It is another regional dimension of local government. It then gains additional subjectivity - financial and legal. First and foremost, it can gain less than 6 percent of the taxes that, instead of flowing into the central budget, would flow into the budget for metropolitan development purposes. This could be as much as several hundred million a year. With this we would like to finance metropolitan transportation, water and sewage development and waste policy.

What can help implement these plans?

We are keen to create a metropolitan association, which has legal subjectivity, because with it comes the possibility of delegating certain responsibilities. We then get an additional possibility of financing. We are planning this on a supra-regional level, so it will be above politics, certain sympathies and antipathies, which guarantees sustainability. We have a chance to raise 300 million zlotys a year, or about 3 billion over 10 years. This amount allows us to plan for a metropolitan railroad, connecting the outer boroughs with what the mother-city provides, access to all those facilities that are impossible for smaller municipalities to maintain, such as stadiums or cultural institutions. Not every municipality can afford it, but we can share it. We want every inhabitant of a municipality that is somewhat distant from Wroclaw to have access to these goods. We stand to gain several hundred million a year, which we can spend in each metropolitan area for this purpose.