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Cohesion policy 2014-2020

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Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes - State of Play

The European Commission is now analysing the official Partnership Agreements (PA) received from 27 Member States and draft Cohesion Policy Operational Programmes (OP) from 10 countries outlining their investment plans for EU Structural and Investment Funds for the 2014-2020 programming period.

The PAs and OPs have come from:

  • Polska: PA 10/01 and all 22 OPs submitted
  • France: PA 14/01 and 25 OP submitted
  • Latvija: PA 15/02 and their one OP submitted
  • Portugal: PA 04/02 and all 12 OP submitted
  • Lietuva: PA 04/01 and their one OP submitted
  • Slovensko: PA 14/02
  • Suomi/Finland: PA 17/02 and one OP submitted
  • Deutschland: PA 26/02 and 6 OPs submitted
  • Eesti: PA 28/02 and their one OP submitted
  • Danmark: PA 04/03 and both OPs submitted
  • Magyarország: PA 07/03
  • Nederland: PA 10/03 and all 5 OPs submitted
  • România: PA 01/04
  • Malta: PA 01/04
  • България/Bulgaria: PA 02/04
  • Slovenija: PA 10/04
  • Sverige: PA 17/04
  • Κύπρος: PA 17/04
  • Česká republika: PA 17/04
  • Österreich: PA 17/04
  • United Kingdom: PA 17/04
  • Ελλάδα: PA 17/04
  • Italia: PA 22/04
  • España: PA 22/04
  • Hrvatska: PA 22/04
  • Éire/Ireland: PA 22/04
  • Belgien/Belgique/België: PA 23/04

One ETC (European Territorial Cooperation) OP (NL-DE) has also been submitted

The Commission has underlined that a strategic approach to the use of the funds is critical and quality is more important than speed.

The remaining official Partnership Agreement proposal is soon expected to be submitted to the Commission for adoption so that programme funding can begin.

The Commission will continue thoroughly analysing the Partnership Agreements and sending observations to Member States.

The first adoptions are expected in May, with the later ones in autumn.

Programming 2014-2020 : the timetable

Partnership Agreements

The Regulation establishes that each Member State shall submit its Partnership Agreement (PA) to the Commission within 4 months from the entry into force of the Regulation.

The Commission shall in turn make observations within 3 months of the date of submission of the PA by the Member State and shall adopt the Agreement no later than 4 months from its submission, provided that the Member State has adequately taken into account the observations made by the Commission.

This means that as a general rule, PAs should be adopted by end of August 2014 at the latest.

Operational Programmes

The Regulation establishes that Operational Programmes (OPs) shall be submitted by Member States at the latest 3 months following the submission of the PA.

The Commission shall make observations within 3 months of the date of submission of the OP and adopt the OP no later than 6 months from the date of its submission, provided that the Member State has adequately taken into account the Commission observations.

As a general rule, therefore, OPs should be adopted by end of January 2015 at the latest.

Adoption of the code of conduct on partnership for 2014-2020 programmes

The Commission adopted on 7January the Delegated Regulation on the European code of conduct on partnership, which lays down the conditions for involvement of partners in the preparation and implementation of 2014-2020 partnership agreements and programmes.

In accordance with article 5 of Regulation (EU) 1303/2013 (Common Provisions Regulation, “CPR”) the Commission shall set out a common set of standards to improve consultation, participation and dialogue with partners such as regional, local, urban and other public authorities, trade unions, employers, non-governmental organisations and bodies responsible for promoting social inclusion, gender equality and non-discrimination during the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects financed by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).

The Code of Conduct, which takes the form of a legally-binding Commission Delegated Regulation, sets out objectives and criteria to ensure that Member States implement the partnership principle in line with the provisions of Article 5 of the CPR. This means that 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 the 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

At the same time, the code of conduct leaves ample flexibility to Member States to organise the precise practical details for involving relevant partners in the different stages of the programming.

The Delegated Regulation on the code of conduct is accompanied by a Staff Working Document gathering examples of best practices as regards implementation of the partnership principle in the European Structural and Investment Funds' programmes.

This Delegated Regulation has not yet entered into force, as it is subject to the right of the European Parliament and of the Council to express objections within the deadline of two months from its adoption, in accordance with Article 290 (2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Commission Delegated Regulation on the code of conduct

SWD accompanying the Delegated Regulation

Press release

Cohesion Policy Regulations to enter into force

The new rules and legislation governing the next round of EU Cohesion Policy investment for 2014-2020 have been formally endorsed by the Council of the European Union and will enter into force once published in the 'Official Journal of the EU'. Member States now move to finalising their strategic plans with investment priorities for regional development, following months of preparation. These Partnership Agreements are expected to be adopted in the early part of 2014. 

Official Journal L 347 ( 20 December) contains the new Regulations 

Previous News

Overall, the reformed cohesion policy will make available up to EUR 351,8 billion[1] to invest in Europe's regions, cities and the real economy. It will be the EU's principle investment tool for delivering the Europe 2020 goals: creating growth and jobs, tackling climate change and energy dependence, and reducing poverty and social exclusion. This will be helped through targeting the European Regional Development Fund at key priorities such as support for small and medium-sized enterprises where the objective is to double support from EUR 70 to 140 billion over the 7 years. There will be stronger result-orientation and a new performance reserve in all European Structural and Investment Funds that incentivises good projects. Finally, efficiency in cohesion policy, rural development and the fisheries fund will also be linked to economic governance to encourage compliance of Member States with the EU's recommendations under the European Semester.

[1] current prices.

Press Release
Refocusing EU Cohesion Policy for Maximum Impact on Growth and Jobs: The Reform in 10 points

Infographic : A reformed Cohesion Policy for Europe : the main investment policy for growth and jobs
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Thematic Flyers

Targeting Investments on Key Growth Priorities

  • Research and Innovation
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  • Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
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  • Enhancing the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
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  • Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy
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