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Historically the European Union has developed its regional policy activities and distributed Structural and Cohesion funding through a partnership process, which includes significant input from the Member States.
Partnership working covers the whole programming process, from the preparatory stage through to the implementation and assessment of results. This approach should lead to better programme outcomes and help ensure that regional funds are spent efficiently.
The same partnership principle is present in the current programming period. Operational Programmes than run under the Cohesion Policy for 2007-13 have been developed through partnerships between the Commission and relevant Member State authorities at either national, regional or local level as well as with socio-economic partners and NGOs.