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Local governments are fighting for a metropolitan law for Pomerania. "The need will become greater and greater".

31 of May '24
w skrócie
  1. An attempt to establish a metropolis in Pomerania is being made by local government officials for the second time, after a failed initiative launched in 2016.
  2. The 2016 proposal to establish a metropolis in Pomerania remained unaddressed and was stuck in a "parliamentary freezer" for two years.
  3. Local government officials resubmitted the bill in February this year.
  4. The metropolitan bill for Pomerania was submitted to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration, starting a new legislative path.
  5. The metropolis could receive funding of 5.75 percent of residents' PIT, which would give hundreds of millions of zlotys to carry out metropolitan tasks.
  6. For more interesting news, visit the home page of the AiB portal.

Pomeranian local governments have been seeking the creation of a metropolitan union for more than eight years. To no avail. The new government has rekindled hopes, so metropolitan advocates, in February, made another attempt and submitted a bill to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration. Experts have no doubt: through the challenges posed by climate change, migration policy or public transportation planning, the need for metropolitan reform will increase over time.

This is the second time local government officials have attempted to establish a metropolis in Pomerania. In 2016, together with the Pomeranian governor, the Gdańsk- Gdynia-Sopot Metropolitan Area (OMGGS), which today brings together 61 cities, municipalities and counties, unanimously decided on the desire to establish a metropolitan union in the Tri-City area. The idea was supported by the academic and business communities. Trouble is, the plans backfired. The proposal remained unaddressed, stuck in the "parliamentary freezer" for two years, only to end up with MPs deciding to reject the first reading. To date, we have only one metropolitan association in Poland - the Upper Silesian and Zagłębie Metropolis (GZM), composed of 41 municipalities, established under the law of March 9, 2017.

The metropolitan agenda will only grow

The change at the helm of power has rekindled hopes for the creation of a metropolitan union in Pomerania. All the more so because the current government is regarded as one that supports local governments, and the initiators of the establishment of a metropolis, including Jacek Karnowski, former mayor of Sopot, are sitting in the Sejm today. In Pomerania, among scientific and expert circles, voices are not silent that the metropolitan law - despite the passage of 8 years since the previous initiative - is still needed.

- With the passage of time, this need will grow, while the costs of not having a metropolitan reform - I promise - will not diminish, but quite the opposite, comments Dr. Jakub Szlachetko, lawyer, chairman of the board of the Metropolitan Institute. - A decade ago, there was little talk, for example, of combating climate change, migration policy or urban mobility, and these are tasks that are by definition transminational, which automatically fall within the scope of the metropolitan agenda. The metropolitan agenda will get bigger and bigger, the need for reform will get stronger. The legislature's omission is a growing sin against the residents.

The draft in the Ministry of Internal Affairs

Local government officials do not intend to wait idly. In February of this year, together with the Pomeranian governor and the chairman of the Association of Universities in Gdansk, they submitted a draft metropolitan law for Pomerania to Tomasz Szymanski, deputy head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration. Thus once again begins the legislative path for the bill, which mayors, presidents, mayors and starostes have been seeking for years. At the same time, the Union of Polish Metropolises is working on its own joint project for the cities today. This project is expected to be created later this year.

The benefits of creating a metropolis are many. It is easier for municipalities, cities and counties to plan investments, public transport connections or promotion of the region. Space can benefit: because together it is easier to coordinate spatial policy and fight urban sprawl.

- As all studies show - where a metropolitan structure has been established, public transportation is better organized, single-ticket connections are more efficient and faster, it is easier to take care of the climate and clean air, coordinate spatial planning, cooperate on investments, jointly plan the course of roads and the development of sustainable mobility. These are concrete, everyday benefits for residents, OMGGS stresses.

To implement these tasks, the metropolis would receive money. At issue is several hundred million zlotys - 5.75 percent of the PIT tax on individuals living in the metropolitan area, which today goes to the state budget. Last year, for example, in the Upper Silesian-Zagłębowska Metropolis (GZM), income only under the so-called statutory own income, together with the contribution made by municipalities, amounted to more than PLN 390 million.

"reform needed and in principle ready"

At what stage is the Pomeranian project proceeding today?

- Discussions are currently underway on solutions for metropolitan and functional areas. In accordance with the decision of the Joint Commission of the Government and Local Self-Government, the issue of metropolises will be the subject of the work of the Team for the System of Local Government, Urban and Metropolitan Areas, the Ministry of Internal Affairs informed us.

The ministry added that options will be considered for a possible amendment to the law on a metropolitan association in the Silesian province, as well as an analysis of the draft law on a metropolitan association in the Pomeranian province.

- The Tenth Chamber of Parliament in its public communications declares itself to be pro-democracy and pro-municipal government, Dr. Jakub Szlachetko says in an interview with AiB. - I have repeatedly heard that it will restore the rule of law and constitutional order, including in the decentralization of public power. I hope that as soon as it is possible to restore local government units to their proper position in the state system, to provide them with adequate sources of income, the Sejm will take the next step and carry out the metropolitan reform, which is extremely necessary and basically ready.

Dr. Szlachetko, who participated in the conceptual and legislative work, stresses that good materials or draft documents are not difficult to find.

- They are there, you just have to use them now," the lawyer adds.

Ewa Karendys

The vote has already been cast