An opening meeting of representatives of member cities and towns of the EMPIRIAE – URBAN RESOURCES / FINANCES thematic network was organised on 13 and 14 June in Włocławek as the host city.

The purpose of the network is to enhance competencies of Polish cities and towns in the area of implementing the New Development Path through experience and good practice exchanges concerning municipal financial governance in the context of using available urban resources and developing new ones. As network members we exchange knowledge, best practices, experience and ideas for how to resolve issues we share in a number of areas. The concept behind the network is to create an efficient platform for co-operation in fields conforming to the Network Activity Schedule developed jointly by all member municipalities.

The meeting was held in hybrid format, some participants joining on site, others online, representatives of 6 Polish cities and towns in attendance: Hajnówka, Jarocin, Konin, Włocławek, Zgierz and Żywiec.

As the acting host town, Włocławek presented accomplishments and good practices regarding the Energy Management System project; a study visit was held to introduce attendants to local urban resources in areas of so-called leisure time (rest and recreation) industries, entrepreneurship, and relations with local business.

The many challenges identified as key to the network’s future continued work include the following:

Project management
1. Communication – planning v. funding
2. Budget (drafting, classification, record sharing and paperwork circulation)
3. Investment analysis and monitoring
4. Debt management
5. Investment-related VAT
6. Sources of funding, including the so-called Polish New Deal
7. Shared Service Centres (development and operation)

Justyna Pietrzykowska is the URBAN RESOURCES / FINANCES thematic network co-ordinator responsible for network activity animation jointly with experts Agnieszka Dawydzik and Daniel Budzeń.

The meeting was organised by the Association of Polish Cities as part of the “Local Development”
Programme financed by the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism for the years 2014-2021. The Programme’s multiple tasks include the development of an Experience Exchange Network (EEN) for project participants and any other interested cities and towns.