PM hails Silesia's potential for 21st-century economic growth

PM hails Silesia's potential for 21st-century economic growth Andrzej Grygiel/PAP

Appearing on a local radio station in Katowice (southern Poland), where he is running for re-election in the coming parliamentary ballot, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki hailed the Silesia region, of which Katowice is the capital, for its future potential.

"The potential for economic development in the 21st century is focused on Silesia to a disproportionate degree," Morawiecki said, adding that within the framework of the Programme for Silesia, PLN 42-43 billion (EUR 9.6-9.8 billion) has already been used out of a reserve of over PLN 55 billion (EUR 12.6 billion).

He said he wanted the residents of Katowice and the whole of the Silesia province to see the benefits of the programme as quickly as possible. "The pace of engaging the funds - 42-43 billion already engaged in roads, in companies, in the energy industry, in renewable energy sources, clean air, because that is also a problem for many towns in the Silesian province - clearly shows that we are becoming more efficient in carrying out various programmes," the prime minister said.

He went on to explain that such major undertakings as transforming the coal sector, building roads or the Clean Air programme do not happen overnight or even over a year, but that the pace of change is in line with the government's plans.

Responding to the statement that Silesians like to hear that their region is where "the industrial heart of Poland beats," Morawiecki agreed, but said the local economy was becoming ever more innovative. While most of Poland associates Silesia with coal and heavy industry, he said, the remaining sectors together achieve ten times the turnover.

"That doesn't mean that the energy industry, the coal sector, are something we should forget about," he said. "Quite the opposite. We sometimes forget in the energy discussion that the sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow: we must have a so-called foundation of over 20 gigawatts of power, which will ensure the functioning of the state, the whole of industry, enterprises and households."

He pointed out that 20 percent of that potential is in Silesia, and specifically in the Zaglebie region, and went on to guarantee that the energy production lost through transformation of the energy sector would be replaced with greener power in Silesia and Zaglebia.

The PM said Silesia's potential was awakening and gave as examples technical processes, engineering, design and project implementation, and said that he did not want to squander that potential, claiming instead that Silesia could build the industry of the future. "The Industrial Revolution 4.0, the Internet of Things; this is that industry of the future, but Upper Silesia and Zaglebia, Silesia in general, is a great potential simply because that knowledge, of how to create those complex projects that are associated with the 21st century, is focused here to a disproportionate degree," Morawiecki said.