Partnership within cohesion policy

27-09-2017

Helping to give stakeholders a voice in decisions that concern them directly, the partnership principle lies at the heart of the EU's cohesion policy and plays an important role in enforcing the legitimacy of EU policymaking. Although already well-established in previous periods, it was strengthened in the 2014-2020 cohesion policy framework, with the Common Provisions Regulation requiring the creation of partnerships for all European and Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) programmes and a new European Code of Conduct on Partnership identifying principles for ensuring that the involvement of partners in cohesion programming and delivery is timely, meaningful and transparent. While a 2016 European Commission study found that the level of stakeholder involvement has improved since the 2007-2013 period, the view among stakeholders such as local and regional authorities, economic and social partners and civil society organisations has been more mixed. Key problem areas include concerns regarding how partners are selected, the quality of the consultation process and the low take-up of stakeholders' views. This suggests a need for tighter measures to ensure improved partnerships in the future and, as negotiations get underway on the shape of cohesion policy post 2020, stakeholders have called for the partnership principle to be strengthened in the next programming period. In June 2017, Parliament adopted a resolution on increasing engagement of partners and visibility in the performance of European Structural and Investment Funds. Appreciating the value that partnership adds to the implementation of EU public policies, Parliament argues that the partnership principle and multi-level governance model can contribute to better communication of EU policy objectives and results.

Helping to give stakeholders a voice in decisions that concern them directly, the partnership principle lies at the heart of the EU's cohesion policy and plays an important role in enforcing the legitimacy of EU policymaking. Although already well-established in previous periods, it was strengthened in the 2014-2020 cohesion policy framework, with the Common Provisions Regulation requiring the creation of partnerships for all European and Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) programmes and a new European Code of Conduct on Partnership identifying principles for ensuring that the involvement of partners in cohesion programming and delivery is timely, meaningful and transparent. While a 2016 European Commission study found that the level of stakeholder involvement has improved since the 2007-2013 period, the view among stakeholders such as local and regional authorities, economic and social partners and civil society organisations has been more mixed. Key problem areas include concerns regarding how partners are selected, the quality of the consultation process and the low take-up of stakeholders' views. This suggests a need for tighter measures to ensure improved partnerships in the future and, as negotiations get underway on the shape of cohesion policy post 2020, stakeholders have called for the partnership principle to be strengthened in the next programming period. In June 2017, Parliament adopted a resolution on increasing engagement of partners and visibility in the performance of European Structural and Investment Funds. Appreciating the value that partnership adds to the implementation of EU public policies, Parliament argues that the partnership principle and multi-level governance model can contribute to better communication of EU policy objectives and results.