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The Warsaw Voice » Business » March 29, 2012
Business & Economy
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Kick-Start for Development
March 29, 2012   
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Michał Janicki, deputy mayor of Wrocław, talks to Barbara Deręgowska about how the city is preparing for events connected with Euro 2012.

What does organizing the soccer championships mean for Wrocław?
First and foremost it means infrastructure development, promotion across Europe, the chance to show off the unique “Wrocław atmosphere.” It’s something you can’t describe, you can only feel it by being here.

It also means rallying residents behind this prestigious event. The championship isn’t just a soccer event. It is the biggest cultural and entertainment event in years and will reach all across the city. Organizing this project and the investments made provide an excellent starting point for other events we have managed to bring in as a result.

In 2014 we will be one of the host cities of the Men’s Volleyball World Championship. In 2016, Wrocław will be a European Capital of Culture. In 2017, we will host the World Games, an extremely original and fascinating event featuring non-Olympic sports.

What new projects has the city seen?
The scale of investment is the greatest since the postwar years. We finally have a proper soccer arena. The new stadium, where the local team ¦l±sk Wrocław plays its league games, has already had 300,000 spectators at events held there so far. The stadium has excellent connections with roads leading into the city, among other things thanks to the new Wrocław Freeway Beltway. We have completed a total of 11 road projects involving construction or expansion of key roads and a new streetcar line. We also have a new terminal at the international airport, enabling Wrocław to process three times more passengers, because new air connections are being started up. Such a spur to development will not only improve traffic efficiency during the championships but is helping bring new investors to the city. This means the capital of Lower Silesia is a serious candidate for organizing more large-scale events.

Apart from soccer matches at stadiums, official fan zones will be set up during the championships. How will the Wrocław fan zone change the city during the tournament?
Above all, it will guarantee Wrocław residents and tourists a lot of fun for a whole month. We are preparing the Official Fan Zone in the heart of the city, namely Wrocław’s Rynek [Market Square]. Apart from a gigantic stage with a screen, there will be three extra outdoor screens, catering outlets and lots of sports and entertainment attractions. First and foremost, we’ll watch the UEFA Euro 2012™ matches together, but there’ll be an extensive stage program, too. Many Polish music stars will put in an appearance at the zone. There will also be guest performances by artists from countries playing matches in Wrocław as well as concerts by truly international stars.

Wrocław will be offering much more besides the events in the main square. On June 15 we invite opera lovers to Wrocław’s latest outdoor mega-production, The Masked Ball. This time the opera will be performed at the Olympic Stadium. At the Contemporary Museum, together with UEFA we are holding a multimedia soccer exhibition from April 27 to July 2, featuring some unique mementos of soccer history. June is when Wrocław always celebrates its special holiday. This year’s Wroclove Fest will be held June 18-20 and its biggest star will be Sinead O’Connor.

Will there be any transport problems?
We will do our best to solve them as efficiently as possible. Standard traffic arrangements in the city will change. The area around the Fan Zone will be closed to car traffic. On the other hand, municipal transport services will be more frequent. Investments from recent years will enable convenient travel from the city center to the stadium and also to other key locations connected with the championships. At such a time, proper information is crucial and we will make sure it is provided, both on signs and advance announcements for residents and visitors. Volunteers will hand out brochures and city guides at parking lots, information points, hotels, stations and airports.

Michał Janicki, 37, married, two children; graduated from the Wrocław University of Economics in 1999; has been involved in Wrocław’s local government for 13 years; deputy mayor of Wrocław and the Wrocław mayor’s pointman for organizing the UEFA Euro 2012 soccer championships.
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