European PPP Center


Public Private Partnership is a relatively new way of procuring Services of General Economic Interest in Poland.
In 2003 under Phare (Bangkok facility) EBRD decided to finance the creation of institutional framework – including legal regulations – for public-private partnership in Poland. The beneficiaries were the: Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Infrastructure, Municipal government of Warsaw and Ministry of Finance.

A task force consisting of international experts was appointed and charged with a mission to assist the Ministry of Economy in creating an institutional framework for public-private partnership in Poland. Simultaneously the project was given a task to prepare a feasibility study for Warsaw municipality for the Line II of Warsaw metro with consideration given to PFI based procurement. Conducting the study on possibilities relating to project procurement involving private finance proved to be rather daunting task in absence of legal framework, that could encourage civil service to consider this new procurement method. Project work was developing in three separate, but tightly coordinated directions culminating with a draft of the future Polish law on public-private partnership and a blue print for the second Warsaw metro line complete with financial scenarios.
Between 2003 and 2005 the Polish PPP law has been created, negotiated amongst stakeholders and finally passed by the Polish parliament on the 28th of July 2005. The law was supplemented with 3 decrees describing in detail administration and project implementation procedures. The law formally opens the way for the implementation of Public Private Partnership undertakings in the country. The law – despite external advice – was designed in too much detail that should rather be included in a handbook or sector specific soft-law recommendations.

The Polish PPP undertakings can be also implemented in accordance with at least 3 other legal acts including Polish Public Procurement law that contains public concession for building works. The European Commission in the book “Resource Book of PPP Case Studies” published in June 2004 on page 110 reviews a Polish PPP project known as: International Airport Warsaw, Poland. There are quite a number of public concessions and DBFO undertakings in water and sewage sector with Saur-Gdansk, being the leading example, at least 3 cases of road concessions and numerous smaller regional projects, latest being underground parking lot for Krakow and residential housing projects. All mentioned projects are implemented on the basis of long term agreements and are public-private partnership projects implemented with no reference to the Polish public-private partnership law.

Practice proves that the alternative implementation methods (with no reference to the PPP law) are safer, easier and cheaper to attain the same goals within Polish legal framework.
Public-private partnership in Poland is regulated by the law of 28 of July 2005 supplemented by three Decrees issued in June 2006, English translation of these documents is available from .
The current work of Polish administration focuses on simplifying the legal framework and required by the law analysis of the planned PPP undertakings. It has to be stated that the political support of central government in Poland towards PPP was less than adequate, however there is a positive attitude of the local self-government towards public-private partnership.

The Polish regulation on public-private partnership proves to complex, especially in implementation of smaller value regional projects. Also the past 2 years the political climate was not exactly favorable towards any form of public and private cooperation. At present the Polish public procurement law is due for a major set of amendments in order to be fully compatible with EU recommendations on public procurement. There is also a plan to introduce a “service concession” chapter into the Polish public procurement law. There are plans to modify the PPP law (the latest draft is available in Polish language).
Today, the legal Polish framework fully allows for concluding PPP agreements on the ground of civil code. There are at least 10 projects in the area of water/sewage, social housing, underground municipal parking and telecoms already completed or pending. The only disadvantage that can be experienced by not using the PPP law is in the form of income tax levied on private entity that acquires legal title to a property or other items transferred by the public entity to a private sector within the framework of PPP agreement. It is likely, that despite deficiency of the legal framework more undertakings will be implemented using the idea of public-private partnership in Poland due to a change in a political climate as well as the growing experience and local self-government confidence.

Source: Witold Grzybowski
The first Polish public-private partnership project founded by EC under Bangkok finance instrument supervised by EBRD was managed and coordinated by myself since 2003. This gave me an opportunity to gain good understanding in setting up a process of institutional adaptation that is still under way in Poland. Being involved in the legal and administrational PPP framework creation in Poland enabled me to retain my advising role to The Ministry of Economy on improvements and amendments to the existing law and also providing expertise on PPP related issues. The latest include Polish position on PPP enterprises financial reporting under IAS within IFRIC 12 formula.

Direct involvement in the Polish PPP legislative process and track record in project management both in the UK, Russian Federation and Poland as well as experience with European Commission project work allows for successful starting up new business initiatives in public services sector on the basis of various legal, organizational and financial solutions. Taking part in the process of standardization of PPP procurement documents and current co-operation with The Association of Polish Banks in creation of PFI based concept of communal housing, keeps me abreast with the latest legal and financial issues related to PPP projects. I also take part in numerous initiatives for the benefit of regional government in the water and sewage, construction, transport and especially individual projects implementation.

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