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Katarzyna Adamiec

Senior Associate
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Applying for a grant from the European Union is a complex process the final outcome of which depends chiefly on the knowledge of guidelines and rules of the EU grants. Each and every prospective applicant should know the basic information about grant opportunities – this is the first step to succeed in obtaining the EU aid in Poland.  

1. What is a grant?

A grant is non-repayable financial aid which can be obtained in the form of a reimbursement of expenses or an advance payment. In the case of projects awarded with an advance grant the enterprise receives the funds before it incurs expenses. In the case of reimbursements, the enterprise first incurs expenses and only afterwards they are reimbursed.

2. Who can apply for a grant in Poland?

Any enterprise or natural person that runs its business and is established in the Republic of Poland may apply for a grant. The aid offered to enterprises takes different forms depending on the enterprise size according to the breakdown into micro, small, medium-sized and large enterprises.

3. What kind of projects are eligible for a grant?

Grants in Poland are available for, among others:

  • Investments in new machinery and tangible assets (e.g. purchase of new production lines);
  • Research and development work in collaboration of businesses and research units, and subsequently putting the outcome of that work into practice (e.g. by commercialisation);
  • Energy efficiency improvement (e.g. by use of equipment reducing pollution of the environment);
  • Renewable energy sources (e.g. installation of biogas systems);
  • Development of IT & communication infrastructure (e.g. e-services);
  • Training.

4. What kind of expenses may be reimbursed in Poland through a grant?

Expenses that may be reimbursed are called eligible costs. These include expenses that meet the following criteria:

  • are defined in the regulations (EU and domestic) and the documentation of calls for proposals;
  • have been actually incurred and documented;
  • are directly connected with and necessary for the project implementation;
  • have been reduced by the input VAT, except when the VAT is not refundable under the domestic VAT regulations;
  • have been, on principle, incurred during the period of eligibility as defined in the project's financial and work schedule included in the application for aid.

5. What rules are going to apply to the grants in Poland between 2014 and 2020?

Poland will spend the EU funds using the instruments called the Operational Programmes. They are divided into 2 types:

1) National Operational Programmes including 6 dedicated programmes:

  • Infrastructure and Environment (incl. low-emission economy, energy efficiency);
  • Smart Growth (incl. research and development, boosting innovation in the economy);
  • Knowledge, Education, Growth (incl. development of skills by providing training);
  • Digital Poland (incl. aid for development of e-administration, e-services, development of broadband Internet access);
  • Eastern Poland (aid addressed to the Eastern macro-region covering 5 provinces: lubelskie, podkarpackie, podlaskie, świętokrzyskie and warmińsko-mazurskie);
  • Technical Assistance (assistance in proper use of the EU funds).

2) Regional Operational Programmes 

Under the Regional Operational Programmes the EU grants will be distributed through the dedicated institutions (i.e. Marshal Offices) to each of Poland's 16 provinces (in line with each region's individual needs) and only entities established in a given province may apply for such a grant. 

If this subject has caught your interest or you have any questions about the European grants in Poland, state aid in Poland or investment advice in Poland, please contact our consultants in the offices in Cracow, Gdansk, Gliwice, Poznan, Warsaw and Wroclaw.