Modernising railways in Poland

Filed under - Integrity Pacts Programme

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The southern Polish town of Zawiercie has a history that it intricately linked to the railway. The town boomed in the 1840s when the Warsaw-Vienna Railway, which passed within a kilometre of the town, was completed and placed it firmly on the north-south trade axis. But like the Warsaw-Vienna line, the vast majority of Poland’s roughly 20,000km of railway was built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although the network is extensive, its age and lack of maintenance means that it is often out-competed by buses and cars when people choose how to travel. On most Polish trains it is not possible to travel more that 160km/hr. Compare this to neighbouring Germany where trains regularly travel at 300km/hour and it is clear why the European Investment Bank has invested almost EUR 2 billion into modernising Poland’s railway since its entry into the EU in 2004. 

In 2016 the European Commission teamed up with Transparency International to pilot the use of Integrity Pacts for 17 projects in 11 Member States, including Poland, worth a total of over EUR 900 million. To find out more about each project click here.

Poland has come a long way in fostering good governance, but recent scandals have highlighted the need for more transparency in public procurement. In March 2017, the government dismissed the board of Polish State Railways (PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe) for mismanagement due to an ongoing investigation into a EUR 440,000 deal with a Warsaw business that is suspected to have caused losses.

Now the railway around Zawiercie is again attracting attention. The latest plan is to modernise the 44km section of railway connecting Zawiercie to Częstochowa, another town on the Warta River in the Southern part of Poland. For this latest round of modernisation, the Polish Railways Line (PLK) have signed an Integrity pact with the Stefan Batory Foundation who will monitor the EUR 130 million project to make sure that the money is spent properly and in the public interest.


Country / Territory - Poland   
Topic - Public procurement   
Tags - Public procurement   |   European Union   |   Integrity Pacts   |   Infrastructure   |   High-speed rail   |   Railways   |   European Investment Bank   |   clean contracts   

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