‘Orange Days’ in Poland with Minister Schultz van Haegen

Minister Schultz van Haegen (Infrastructure & the Environment) has spent the past days on a working visit to Poland. A delegation representing over 30 Dutch companies accompanied her on her visit to Warsaw. The visit is aimed at further strengthening cooperation between the Netherlands and Poland in the areas of infrastructure, construction, rail transport and water safety. The visit took place during the Polish ‘Orange Days’, a themed week in which diplomatic ties between the Netherlands and Poland are strengthened.

Ms Schultz van Haegen is positive about the mission: “The Netherlands is among the top-10 countries investing in Poland. No fewer than 1500 Dutch companies are active there. Poland is one of the European countries that has suffered the least from the economic crises. In 2009 the economies of the eurozone shrank, but Poland’s economy grew. This offers enormous opportunities for the Dutch business community. Opportunities that several companies are already grasping with both hands. For example, our companies have helped build the stadiums at which the 2012 European Football Championships will be played.”

Minister Schultz van Haegen spoke with representatives from the Ministry of Regional Development about water management and urban development, investments in infrastructure and the use of European funds. The Netherlands and Poland agreed to cooperate more in the areas of public-private cooperation, water management and waste management. The Minister asked that attention be paid to the tendering policy with which Dutch companies are confronted on the Polish market. Ms Schultz agreed with Minister Nowak of Transport, Construction & Maritime Economy to further develop the rail link between the Netherlands and Poland. They also discussed the use of Intelligent Transport Systems to increase the safety of road transport.

Ms Schultz opened a conference on rail links together with Deputy Minister Massel of Transport, Construction & Maritime Economy. The first freight trains running on the new rail link with Poland will leave Rotterdam on Friday. Twenty-wagon freight trains will soon be running between Rotterdam and Poznan three times a week. Minister Schultz: “This new rail link is good news for road users and the environment. It means fewer lorries on the roads and so less congestion. In addition, each trip by rail emits 80 percent less CO2.”

Dutch knowledge in the field of water safety was the subject of a talk with the Polish Minister of the Environment, Marcin Korolec. Due to economic development in Poland, there are increasingly more people and companies in areas that are prone to flooding, and flood damage is on the rise. The Netherlands sent emergency pumps to Poland to get rid of excess water during the 2010 floods. Minister Schultz drew attention to the Dutch ‘Room for the River’ approach in which the risk of flooding is reduced by giving the river more room. River widening can be used, for example, in the Zulawy Delta in the neighbourhood of Gdansk.