This concerns an assessment as to levels of satisfaction with the manner and extent in which representatives of sub-national government feel they has been consulted and involved in the formulation of the Partnership Agreements (PA). These were submitted last year by each Member State to the Commission, on their planned strategy for the use of the ESIFs (ERDF, ESF, EAFRD and EMFF) and have since been finalised.

Much of this enquiry is based on how the European Code of Conduct on Partnership in relation to the ESIFs has been adhered to in practice since it was agreed in January 2014. This Regulation requires member states to strengthen co-operation between the authorities responsible for their expenditure and stakeholder partners such as regional, local and other public authorities. Member states are required to:

  • Ensure transparency in the selection of partners representing regional, local and other public authorities, social and economic partners and bodies representing civil society, to be appointed as full members in the monitoring committees of the programmes;
  • Provide partners with adequate information and sufficient time as a prerequisite for a proper consultation process;
  • Ensure that partners must be effectively involved in all phases of the process, i.e. from the preparation and throughout the implementation, including monitoring and evaluation, of all programmes;
  • Support the capacity-building of the partners for improving their competences and skills in view of their active involvement in the process; and
  • Create platforms for mutual learning and exchange of good practice and innovative approaches.

Input will feed into the CoR’s own-initiative Opinion on ‘The outcome of the negotiations on the Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes’. The draft report will be worked on by the Territorial Cohesion Policy commission (COTER) over the coming months before being presented for adoption to the CoR plenary session on 8-9 July. It will then be passed on to the other EU Institutions for their consideration.