Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

April 10, 2008

Poland wants $55bln of new roads for Euro 2012

Filed under: Money,Poland,Roads — Ivan @ 5:49 am

WARSAW, April 10 (Reuters) – Poland intends to spend $55 billion on new road construction in the next five years in preparation for the Euro 2012 soccer championships, Infrastructure Minister Cezary Grabarczyk said in an interview.
Poland, which co-hosts the sporting tournament with Ukraine, wants to treble its current 1,000 km of motorways and highways.
A daunting task for the ex-Communist country which built just 25 km of high speed roads last year giving it the total of 700. In comparison, Germany has more than 12,000 km of motorways.
“We want to spend 121 billion zlotys ($55.05 billion) on roads. More than 97 percent of his amounts will come from European Union funds,” the minister told Reuters.
“I think Chinese companies, well-experienced in construction works, will appear in our market. Talks with our Chinese partners are now going on,” Grabarczyk said.
“Last year 5,000 km of highways were built in China. This shows the potential,” Grabarczyk added. “We also want to import from China some construction materials, especially cement, which our market will definitely be short of.”
Grabarczyk said he intends to introduce a package of a specialist bills to overcome a tangled web of laws which many fear could hold up the construction projects.
Some people believe more needs to be happening now:
“If we start next year too many investments will accumulate at once giving little chances to carry them out,” Andrzej Wyszynski of the Polish Association of Road Builders said.
Wyszynski said he was concerned a slew of projects all occurring at the same time would lead to upheaval on existing roads as contractors rushed to complete work.
“Everything dug out, people stuck in traffic…”
Labour shortages — estimated at 200,000 in the construction sector alone — and growing wage pressures across the economy were also a concern.
Earlier this year Poland granted its former-Soviet bloc neighbours from outside the EU easier access to its labour market to ease the tightness.
But, Grabarczyk fears this might not be enough which is why he is looking further eastwards.
Quite how large scale Chinese involvement in the project would tally with the prime minister’s tough stance towards Beijing over Tibet remains unclear.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk was one of the first national leaders to announce he would not go to the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.

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