The Polish-French-British PPP conference, held at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development on 20 March, brought together best practice from two of the EU’s leading proponents of public-private partnerships. The UK has 22 years of experience with PPPs, with over 1,000 projects completed, while France has been using the PPP formula for 10 years to deliver over 500 projects.
Organised jointly by Poland’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Development, British Embassy and the Embassy of France, in co-operation with the French and British chambers of commerce, the conference focused on practical examples, case-studies and lessons learned from long experience in France and the UK of delivering public infrastructure using private-sector capital and know-how. It was aimed at representatives of Poland’s public sector with an interest in using PPP to build and operate infrastructure.
From the right, the French Ambassador to Poland - Pierre Buhler, Her Majesty’s Ambassador - Robin Barnett, director of the PPP Department in MID - Robert Kałuża
The conference was opened by Her Majesty’s Ambassador Robin Barnett, and the French Ambassador to Poland, Pierre Buhler. Mr Wadim Kurpias, Partner at CMS Cameron McKenna, made introductory remarks. The event took the form of two interactive panel discussions. The first panel, moderated by the British Polish Chamber of Commerce’s chief advisor, Michael Dembinski, looked at why a public sector institution should consider using the PPP model in the first place, especially when there is access to EU funds.
Mr Robert Kałuża, Director of the Department of PPP Projects’ Support at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development, outlined the Ministry’ work in promoting the PPP model to local authorities throughout Poland. Four projects currently under way in Poland were discussed. They are: the waste-incineration plant project in Poznań, the municipal sewage treatment works in Konstancin-Jeziorna, the student halls of residence at the Jagiellonian University medical school and the Żywiec hospital.
One point that came from the panel was the need for Poland to create one central government body for the promotion of PPP to the public sector. In France, the Mission d’Appui aux Partenariats Public-Privé, or Partnerschaften Deutschland, or Infrastructure UK, have a clear role in disseminating PPP best practice.
The first discussion panel
The aim of the second panel was to show what factors were essential to ensure satisfactory cooperation between public and private partners during the project’s lifecycle. The panel was moderated by Agnieszka Ferek from Baker & McKenzie, who chairs the French-Polish Chamber of Commerce’s PPP committee. Two French and one UK PPP projects were discussed in detail. They were: the new campus building at the University of Paris VII and the Department La Manche project to increase energy efficiency as well as the UK school building project, which had delivered many hundreds of schools. Representative of Mott MacDonald also presented lessons learned by the UK Government from its review of the first 20 years of operating PPP projects.
The second discussion panel
The conference was attended by over 120 participants. The high level of interest from among Poland’s public sector suggests that there is a need for follow-up meetings in this formula, to show practical examples of PPP in action, through the project planning, financing, construction and operational phases.