High-level conference “Engaging citizens for good governance in Cohesion Policy”

Additional tools


In her political guidelines for the new Commission, President Ursula von der Leyen expressed her will for European citizens to play a leading and active part in building the future of our Union. The importance of more citizen engagement has been recognised and strengthened in the Lisbon Treaty with the European citizens’ initiative and in a number of documents and political declarations, such as the Commission contribution to the Sibiu Declaration for a “new strategic agenda for the EU 2019-2024”.

With this in mind, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy is organising a conference on engaging citizens and civil society in Cohesion Policy. The event will take place under the political leadership and with the participation of Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira and will focus on how to ensure closer cooperation with citizens and civil society in the governance and implementation of Cohesion Policy and management of dedicated EU funds. Through a more active citizens’ engagement, institutions will become even more transparent and accountable, while investments will bring more and bigger results on the ground.

New: a background document provides additional details of the wider political context and objectives of the conference.

Some key questions to address through the conference are:

  • How can citizens and civil society contribute to good governance in EU Cohesion Policy?
  • How do we bring Cohesion Policy closer to citizens?
  • What are the experiences from cooperation between authorities and citizens across Europe?

Register here for this event.

For participants from civil society it is possible to apply for having travel costs and hotel covered. This can be done in the registration form.

Draft Agenda

08.30 – 09.30

Registrations, coffee and networking.

09.30 – 09.50

Opening and welcome.

Political speeches. Introduction to the topic of EU Cohesion Policy closer to citizens.

09.50 – 11.00

Keynote speeches: “the What”.

High-level speakers will provide context and visions: the situation today and trends and developments for CSO/citizen engagement.

11.00 – 11.30

Coffee and networking break.

11.30 – 12.30

Plenary session: “the Why”.

Why should we involve citizens and civil society more in EU Cohesion Policy? Speakers will give short introductions followed by a conversation on stage.

12.30 – 14.00


14.00 – 15.00

Breakout sessions: “the Experiences”.

With the aim of facilitating more open and participatory debate, we will present interesting examples and go more into details on specific issues:


1) Open data/ tech to engage citizens.

2) Co-creation, ownership and meaningful participation.

3) Monitoring, transparency and accountability – building trust through cooperation.

4) Capacity building for authorities and CSOs.

15.00 – 15.30

Coffee and networking break.

15.30 – 15.50

Report back from the breakout sessions.

15.50 – 16.05

Testimonies from a city and a region.

A local and a regional politician will present how and why they involve citizens and civil society in their work.

16.05 – 17.15

High-level political debate: “the How”.

Thinking ahead, how could and should citizens and civil society be involved in EU Cohesion Policy for the future?

17.15 – 17.45

Concluding remarks.

At the end of the day, participants are welcome to stay for a networking drink.

Please save the date:

The conference will take place in The Square conference centre in Brussels,

6 February 2020.

For questions, please contact DG REGIO on REGIO-CITIZENS-CONFERENCE-2020@ec.europa.eu