Elżbieta Bieńkowska was appointed Minister of Regional Development on 16 November 2007. On 18 November 2011 she was sworn-in to serve for another term.
During her first term of office (2007-2011) Minister Bieńkowska achieved full absorption of the EU funds from the 2004-2006 budget and she allocated over 70% of nearly EUR 68 billion granted to Poland for 2007-13. She eliminated barriers to accessing the EU resources by simplifying and shortening the procedures and getting involved in amending the law on environmental protection and public procurement.
Moreover, she suggested to introduce incentives for efficiency, which encouraged regions to deliver their plans of European funds implementation with a surplus. It was also her initiative to introduce as part of the MRD’s anti-crisis package for example the advance payments for entrepreneurs; she also focused on mainstreaming the development grant transfer to the self-governments.
Furthermore, the Cooperation Platform for Public Private Partnerships was created on the suggestion of the MRD. The agreement was signed by 28 institutions, including representatives of eight ministries, Presidents of the largest cities in Poland, heads of self-governmental associations, as well as the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, the Public Procurement Office and BGK It was a crucial year for PPP popularisation in Poland.
During Minister Bieńkowska’s first term in office the Council of Ministers adopted the National Strategy of Regional Development 2010-2020: regions, cities, rural areas complete with an Action Plan thereto, and at the beginning of the second - an innovative Concept of National Spatial Development 2030 (CNSD 2030).
Plans of Minister Bieńkowska for the second term cover e.g. full absorption of the current budget resources and thereby keeping Poland’s position as the leader of the EU Cohesion Policy. Priority is also given to completing works on the new European funds implementation system in 2014-2020, development of the National Urban Policy and elaboration of the Medium-Term National Development Strategy.
Her entire professional career is connected to European funds implementation and regional development. From January 1999 to November 2007 Elżbieta Bieńkowska worked in the Office of the Marshal of Śląskie Voivodeship. As the Director of the Regional Development Department she was responsible for programming and implementation of financial instruments funded from the European Funds.
Before that, in 1996-1998, while working in the Śląskie Voivodeship Office in Katowice, she took part in the works on the regional contract for the Katowice Voivodeship and the preparation of the PHARE INRED programme. In 1999 she served as a proxy of the Katowice Voivode for the Voivodeship Development Strategy.
In 1989 she received a master’s degree in oriental philology at Jagiellonian University. In 1996 she graduated from Polish National School of Public Administration and in 1998 she completed the MBA postgraduate studies at Warsaw School of Economics.
As an expert in international projects she lectured to postgraduate students at the University of Silesia and Warsaw School of Economics.
In the parliamentary elections in 2011, she became a senator.
She is a fluent speaker of English.
Minister Bieńkowska is married and has three children.