How to make citizens active participants in the governance of EU cohesion policy
Why citizens should be involved in EU cohesion policy?
Cohesion policy is one of the concrete expressions of EU solidarity. And with more than EUR 372 billion set aside for cohesion policy in the EU’s next long-term budget for 2021-2027, it is also one of the EU’s largest investment policies.
Reliable institutions and good administrative capacity are necessary for the success of these investments.
And citizens have an important role to play in making public authorities more transparent and accountable and in making public investment more efficient and effective.
This drive for transparency, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness aligns with the objectives of the Conference on the Future of Europe. One of the key principles of EU cohesion policy is participation (see European Code of Conduct on Partnership).
The partnership principle is another key principle, and it applies to all stages of the programming process linked to EU cohesion-policy funds:
- monitoring and evaluation.
In 30 years of cohesion policy, the stakeholders have become increasingly diverse.
And to further promote the participation of citizens and their representatives, the Commission organised a high-level conference ‘Engaging citizens for good governance in Cohesion Policy’ in February 2020 under the political leadership of Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira.
In addition, the Commission launched two pilot initiatives to promote the genuine and meaningful involvement of civil society and the public. For these two pilot initiatives, the Commission partnered with managing authorities and intermediate bodies (the bodies that manage cohesion-policy programmes) and civil-society organisations (CSOs).
How the authorities responsible for implementing EU funds can cooperate with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
In July 2020, the OECD started working with five selected authorities in the EU on how to engage more closely with citizens and civil society (see kick-off event video). These five selected authorities are: (i) the regional government of Cantabria in Spain; (ii) the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy; (iii) the Centre for EU Transport Projects in Poland; (iv) the Interreg Flanders-Netherlands programme; and (v) the Interreg Romania-Bulgaria programme.
The OECD has been promoting innovative forms of citizen participation in public policy by helping countries to implement Provision 9 of the OECD Recommendation of the Council on Open Government (2017). This recommendation focuses on exploring innovative ways to effectively engage with stakeholders to source ideas, co-create solutions, and seize opportunities provided by digital-government tools. The recommendation also focuses on new research in the area of innovative citizen-participation practices to analyse the new forms of deliberative, collaborative, and participatory decision-making that are emerging across the globe.
In recent years, public authorities from all levels of government have increasingly turned to citizens’ assemblies, juries, panels and other representative/deliberative processes to tackle complex policy problems ranging from climate change to infrastructure-investment decisions. The OECD looked into these innovative examples in a new report,Innovative Citizen Participation and New Democratic Institutions: Catching the Deliberative Wave (2020). The research in this report shows that such citizen participation in public decision-making can deliver better policies, strengthen democracy, and build trust between citizens and public authorities.
To extend the benefits of innovative citizen-participation methods to EU cohesion policy, the OECD is working with the five authorities to: (i) help them find opportunities to actively engage citizens and civil society in the programming and implementation of their operational programmes; and (ii) identify appropriate, innovative ways to carry out this engagement.
The regional government of Cantabria in Spain
The Cantabria region is in the process of developing a regional programme ROP for 2021-2027. Building a ‘green’ Europe and moving towards a low-carbon economy are key priorities of the programme. The OECD is providing guidance to the region on how to design and implement a citizens’ panel that will bring together a group of citizens that broadly represents the region. The OECD’s goal is to identify measures to help Cantabria to move towards a low-carbon economy, taking into account the context of a rural-urban divide that this initiative aims to overcome.
Contact point: Paz Diaz Nieto, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Emilia-Romagna region in Italy
The Emilia-Romagna region is in the process of developing its regional programme for 2021-2027. It is fundamental to involve stakeholders – and CSOs and citizens in particular – in this process, particularly throughout the programming stage. Emilia-Romagna is working with the OECD to draw up a plan for citizen engagement in the development and implementation of local territorial-development strategies (that are part of the ROP for 2021-2027), which will contain specific project ideas.
Contact point: Anna Maria Linsalata, AnnaMaria.Linsalata@regione.emilia-romagna.it
The Centre for EU Transport Projects in Poland
The Centre for EU Transport Projects (CEUTP) works directly with beneficiaries on all aspects of transport infrastructure projects: initial formulation of the project, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. The CEUTP aims to increase citizen participation in the early stages of decision-making for infrastructure projects in Poland. It is working with the OECD to produce a concrete set of citizen-participation guidelines tailored for the CEUTP around citizen engagement in infrastructure projects. The guidelines focus on the early stages of decision-making (such as the planning of infrastructure projects), and will be a practical tool for the beneficiaries, investors, and municipalities with which the CEUTP works.
Contact point: Edyta Jaszcuk, EJaszczuk@cupt.gov.pl
The Interreg Flanders-Netherlands programme
The goal of the Interreg Flanders-Netherlands programme is to stimulate cross-border cooperation by bringing together companies, NGOs, and public authorities to work on priority topics by learning from each other and tackling common obstacles (for example, in areas like cross-border mobility and healthcare cooperation). The programme’s Joint Secretariat is currently in the process of drawing up the 2021-2027 programme. The aim of the Joint Secretariat is to improve the impact of the Interreg Flanders-Netherlands programme by ensuring that projects funded through the programme reflect and address citizens’ most pressing needs. Together with the OECD, the Joint Secretariat is developing a citizen-participation ‘playbook’, which will help beneficiaries to engage citizens in shaping and implementing programme projects. The playbook: (i) covers different purposes and methodologies of citizen participation; (ii) discusses how to choose between these purposes and methodologies; and (iii) provides references to key resources. The questions that lie at the centre of this playbook will be incorporated into the programme’s call for proposals and will form part of the decision-making process for allocating funds to projects.
Additionally, this project involves a pilot citizens’ panel. The panel’s responsibility will be deciding which cross-border studies should be funded in response to the call for proposals on this issue. The idea is to learn from this pilot panel how to better design future citizens’ panels that will be established for each call for proposals for cross-border studies during the seven-year programming period.
The Interreg Romania-Bulgaria programme
The Interreg Romania-Bulgaria programme selects and funds projects that contribute to the social and economic development of the Romanian-Bulgarian border area. The area is formed of 7 counties in Romania and 8 districts in Bulgaria. The Joint Secretariat for the Interreg Romania-Bulgaria programme is currently in the programming stage for Interreg’s post-2020 programmes. Policy objective 5 of the EU’s cohesion policy, ‘Europe closer to citizens’ was chosen as the Romania-Bulgaria programme’s objective. This policy objective will be developed by setting up a strategy board comprised of stakeholders and NGOs, creating an opportunity to strengthen NGO engagement. Another key public consultation on the programme will be organised on the procedure for conducting a strategic environmental assessment. This consultation is an opportunity for citizen engagement in the programming stage.
The OECD aims to help ensure that these opportunities are maximised by effectively engaging citizens and stakeholders. The programme will therefore work in a collaborative way to develop a checklist for designing and commissioning citizen-participation processes. The checklist will be a tool that the Interreg Romania-Bulgaria programme can use as a benchmark of quality for the citizen-engagement processes that it organises or commissions.
Contact point: Simona Vatafu, Simona.Vatafu@mlpda.ro
18 examples of grant schemes for civil society organisations (CSOs)
Nineteen projects were selected to encourage citizens and authorities to work closer together.
These 18 projects are part of the pilot actions launched in February 2020 to promote citizen and civil-society participation in designing, implementing and evaluating EU cohesion-policy projects. These projects will help to foster a culture of transparency and accountability. They will also give citizens a greater sense of ‘ownership’ in the results of EU cohesion policy. Each selected project will receive financial support of up to EUR 25 000 to implement their innovative citizen-participation ideas and initiatives in the following fields: (i) the European green deal, (ii) sustainable, territorial and local development, (iii) cross-border cooperation, (iv) civic monitoring; and (v) active citizenship.
The Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said the following.
Citizens have an important role to play in making public investment more efficient and effective, and public authorities more transparent and accountable. This is even more important now when we are facing the challenges of the economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis, taking advantage of the green and digital transitions, and strengthening the resilience of our societies. These projects will be a clear example of how cohesion policy not only works for the people but also with the people.
Below are some short descriptions of the 18 selected projects.
1 - Project title: Community Engagement on Cohesion – Italy, Umbria
This project will involve citizens in the programming European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) investments for 2021-2027 in the areas of green infrastructure and waste management. The project will develop an online platform to organise citizens in focus groups with the cooperation and support of the Umbria region of Italy and the Umbria Consumers’ Association. This project will also involve students in the programming, by using ‘gamification’ methods (i.e. making citizen participation more closely resemble a game).
Beneficiary: Centro per lo Sviluppo Agricolo e Rurale (CESAR)
2 - Project title: Una rete nazionale di monitoraggio civico dei fondi europei per l’ambiente e lo sviluppo sostenibile (A national civic monitoring network of European funds for the environment and sustainable development) – Italy, all regions
This project will implement research, networking, training, and awareness-raising actions centred on the ‘civic monitoring’ of public funds. Its aim will be to increase knowledge about – and transparency in – ERDF projects in Italy that deal with the environment and sustainability. In particular, it will:
- promote and disseminate the practice of civic monitoring through methods and tools verifying the implementation and outcomes of the project;
- create and run a national, civic-monitoring network, bringing together civil-society groups interested in environmental policy and sustainable development;
- develop new forms of collaboration between organised citizens, ERDF managing authorities, and political and administrative decision-makers, thus strengthening public participation and improving the effectiveness of EU cohesion policy.
Beneficiary: Lunaria, Associazione di Promozione Sociale(in cooperation with Monithon)
3 - Project title: Youth in Action for Cohesion Policy (YACOPO) – Italy, Sardinia
The Malik Association is currently implementing the ‘Sportello in Spalla’ project in areas of Sardinia that are disadvantaged, remote, mountainous, and sparsely populated. This project offers young people information tools, training and the opportunity to participate in: (i) youth policies; (ii) active citizenship programmes; and (iii) work international mobility. It focuses on young people with fewer economic and social opportunities.
Through innovative approaches, pilot actions, online consultations, video contests, photographic competitions, and European Awareness Scenario Workshops, the project plans to achieve the following results.
•It will seek to discover why Sardinian young people do not know about – nor fully benefit from – EU cohesion policy.
• It will give the Regional Management Authority better knowledge of the priorities and difficulties of young people, civil society, and administrators.
• It will promote greater awareness of implemented projects thanks to the ERDF 2014-2020 for young people.
• It will promote greater awareness among young people of the active and crucial role they can play in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of EU cohesion policies.
• It will promote greater involvement by the public in cohesion policy.
• It will improve listening and dialogue skills in civic networks.
• It will give the public greater confidence in decision-makers.
Beneficiary: Associazione culturale Malik
4 - Project title: Good(s) Monitoring, Europe! – Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Belgium, Spain
This project will set up a European process for the public to monitor the public and social re-use of confiscated goods (illegally acquired assets confiscated as a result of criminal investigations). The project aims to be a tool for community inclusion and regeneration, and will involve non-profit organisations and public institutions. It will analyse the impact of EU cohesion policies on the possibility of reusing confiscated assets for social/community purposes. It will also help organise some national monitoring teams to participate in a European summer school in Italy on confiscated property. Finally, it will draw up a European strategy for the public and social re-use of confiscated assets through cohesion policies. This strategy will encourage the creation of local working groups that involve the competent authorities and the public in an economic and social partnership.
Beneficiary: Libera. Associazioni, nomi e numeri contro le mafie
5 - Project title: Participatory Mapping in Cohesion Policy (PartiMap) – Hungary
This project will develop a participatory, open-source tool to support projects in sustainable urban mobility and the renewal of urban spaces in Hungary. The tool will enable the geo-based collection of ideas and feedback that can be used in all phases of programming funds.. The project will foster cooperation between municipalities, citizens and local stakeholders to promote better planning, implementation and monitoring.
Beneficiary: K-Monitor Közhasznú Egyesület
6 - Project title: Kleroterion – Italy, Greece and Portugal
This project will test two separate actions aimed at involving local citizens in the implementation of Cohesion Fund programmes in at least three European regions (Tuscany (Italy), Central Greece (Greece), and Alentejo (Portugal). The first activity will consist in setting up regional citizens’ assemblies tasked with providing opinions and recommendations on aspects of the programmes. The second activity will entail launching online open consultations to gather feedback/input from citizens on planned calls for proposals according to the new transparency provisions in the EU cohesion-policy regulation for 2021-2027. The results will feed into a set of guidelines with the aim of promoting a scale-up of these actions in other regions.
Beneficiary: Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CRPM)
7 - Project title: EuroMoney.bg – Bulgaria
This project aims to enable the public to have its say on what is financed in their region by EU money. Up until now, there have been no public hearings or feedback procedures on cohesion programmes for ordinary citizens in Bulgaria. This project will give ordinary citizens the option of: (i) leaving quick and easy comments on each project; and (ii) notifying, anonymously or not, any instances of corruption and bad practice. Citizen control and whistleblowing are the best ways to fight malpractice in EU funding.
Beneficiary: Anti-Corruption Fund Foundation
8 - Project title: CITI4GREEN – Italy, Central Apennine District
This project will engage citizens in understanding and promoting the multiple benefits of the green, blue and sustainable growth measures funded under EU cohesion policy. CITI4GREEN will implement citizen-science and participatory approaches to assess citizen-centred local-scale indicators of the sustainable development goals. These local-scale indicators will demonstrate practical ways to valorise nature for the recovery of areas affected by the earthquake in 2016 in central Italy.
Beneficiary: Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM)
9 - Project title: Libellula - a ‘civic-monitoring’ lab in Palermo – Italy
This project will set up a multi-stakeholder coalition between Libellula association and the municipality of Palermo in Italy, to monitor the distribution of EU cohesion funds. In ‘monitoring roundtables’, Libellula’s participants will learn about and contribute to: (i) monitoring strategic public procurement through an integrity pact; (ii) using AppaltiPop, an IT tool which signals the risk of corruption in public procurements by issuing ‘red flags’; and (iii) advocating for greater involvement of citizens in the implementation of EU cohesion funds. Through this civic-monitoring action, Libellula will bring citizens back to the centre of democratic processes.
Beneficiary: Parliament Watch Italia (PWI)
10 - Project title: Agenda Partecipata dei Territori (Participatory Agenda of the Territories) – Italy, Lombardy
This project will experiment with an innovative participatory process for territorial development. It will do so by involving citizens in the development of indicators that can support the construction of strategic and operational tools to shape EU cohesion policy in the Lombardy region of Italy.
Beneficiary: Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli (FGF)
11 - Project title: Estado de la ciudad – Ferrol, Spain
This project seeks to tackle citizens’ disaffection with the processes that shape the future of their city. The project includes a set of innovative online and offline actions that will enable people from Ferrol, Spain to take an active role in designing and implementing European investments. By creating channels of communication and spaces in which to debate, the project intends to increase the level of public engagement while simultaneously ensuring the effectiveness of this engagement.
Beneficiary: Asociación Xeración
12 - Project title: Closer Europe – Open platform for citizens’ initiatives – Bulgaria
This project aims to build an online open-space platform to exchange public opinion, debates, initiatives and approaches for effective policy implementation. Based in the Bulgarian city of Lovech, but targeted at municipalities across Bulgaria, it will be called the LovetchLab open-space platform. The open-space platform seeks to increase citizens’ involvement in regional development and improve their understanding of – and appreciation for – EU cohesion support.
The LovetchLab open-space platform will increase young people’s civic engagement through innovative approaches and methods in waste management and resource efficiency. These innovative methods of participation will help local administrations to achieve many goals, including: (i) better allocation of municipal budgets; (ii) improved decision-making about participation in European programmes; (iii) the crowdsourcing of innovative ideas; and (iv) the building of greater trust in local communities.
Beneficiary: Association for Social Responsibility and Development through Innovation
13 - Project title: RoBulUs: Tools for enhancing youth engagement in Romania-Bulgaria cross-border cooperation – Romania and Bulgaria
Cohesion means sticking together. The RoBulUs plan aims to increase the involvement of young people in the planning and implementation of EU cohesion policy in 2021-2027 at both regional and local level. It focuses on the Romania-Bulgaria cross-border cooperation programme.
RoBulUs will develop:
- a practical outline of the mechanisms through which citizens can engage in the design and future implementation of the operational cohesion programmes at both regional and local levels in Bulgaria and Romania;
- a mobile app to improve young people’s knowledge of both EU cohesion policy and the new priorities of the programme for territorial cooperation between Bulgaria and Romania;
- an online step-by-step guide for participating in the decision-making process at regional and local levels for the planning and future implementation of the Romania-Bulgaria cross-border cooperation programme 2021-2027.
In addition, the project will organise experimental workshops and a conference to present opportunities for citizen-participation and the best achievements in cross-border cooperation.
The RoBulUs initiative will: (i) improve communication and collaboration between citizens and local administrations; (ii) increase the sustainability of regional public policies and investments; and (iii) improve the participatory culture of young citizens in both countries.
Beneficiary: International Management Institute
14 - Project title: People Shaping Cities for the People (PSCP) – Romania
This project will organise conferences in cities to develop smart and sustainable solutions for urban areas. The project seeks to connect innovators, leaders, changemakers and companies that share the same values and the same dream of a sustainable Europe. As part of the project, urban communities from Oradea and Brasov in Romania will co-create smart development solutions to urban problems through a ‘design thinking’ process.
Beneficiary: Institute for Local Development - Think Global Act Local
15 - Project title: Youth for Cohesion – Italy, Greece, Croatia, Bosnia, Albania and Montenegro
The project will train a group of 60 young ‘cohesion builders’ from Italy, Greece, Croatia, Bosnia, Albania and Montenegro to become informed about – and active in – cohesion policy. These trained young people will build on existing initiatives such as information campaigns to train other young people to approach managing authorities so they can have their say on – and share their knowledge and ideas about – the planning and programming of the funds.
Beneficiary: Adriatic Ionian Euroregion (AIE)
16 - Project title: GreenMyWay - A citizen observatory to support the transition to a circular economy for young generations – Portugal
GreenMyWay is a Portuguese project that aims to develop awareness of the circular economy among young people and create more opportunities for young people in the field of circular economy. It seeks to achieve this in the following ways: (i) increasing young people’s participation in local initiatives and encouraging young people to take an active role within their communities; (ii) creating an observatory for the circular economy; (iii) mapping local initiatives; and (iv) engaging citizens and young people in the policy making process. GreenMyWay will be a simple but innovative tool to bring together actors, initiatives and policymakers that are working on the topic of circular economy. This tool will focus on young people, the public, schools and universities. Engaging and empowering both young people and other citizens in the transition to a circular economy will be the project’s main focus.
Beneficiary: Associação para um Centro de Estudos em Desenvolvimento Sustentável (CEDES)
17 - Project title: ENGAGE - Enhancing Generative Approaches for Gender Equality – Italy
The ENGAGE project will design and test a co-creation workshop methodology to strengthen the role of citizens and civil society organizations in the implementation of the cohesion policy, with a focus on the gender equality policies for the upcoming programming period, focusing on the preparation of the programme cycle.
Beneficiary: MEET Digital Culture Centre srl Impresa Sociale
18 - Project title: #madebycitizen4cohesion – Italy
This project will organise a structural dialogue between citizens and six managing authorities. The structured dialogues will be organised among regional authorities and citizens. They will cover the achievements of EU cohesion policy and what the priorities for the next programming period should be.
Beneficiary: CINSEDO Centro interregionale di studi e documentazione
4 examples on how to involve young people in decision making on how to implement cohesion funding.
In October 2020, a group of young Europeans helped to publish the Manifesto for Young People by Young People to Shape the European Cooperation Policy. This was published on the occasion of the 30-year anniversary of the Interreg programme, which is the EU’s flagship scheme for cooperation across borders at regional and national level to benefit all EU citizens.
The Manifesto is the result of a truly democratic and bottom-up process to involve young people in shaping the future of EU cohesion policy and especially in shaping the future of Interreg and the macro-regional strategies.
Following targeted surveys, polls, and online group discussions with young people from all over Europe, the Manifesto presents five areas of concern for European young people. These five areas are: (i) education and training opportunities; (ii) employment and the job market; (iii) digitalisation; (iv) climate change; and (v) citizens’ engagement. The Manifesto makes 12 concrete recommendations that mainly address decision-makers and administrations at EU, national, regional and local levels to show what they can do to best address young people’s concerns.
A core group of young people and stakeholders (stakeholders such as CSOs interested in: (i) European cooperation; (ii) citizens engagement; or (iii) the engagement of young people) as well as European Commission staff hold regular informal exchanges to best disseminate and implement the Manifesto.
The European Green Deal sets out Europe’s ambition to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Given the different starting points of various regions in facing the coming changes, the Just Transition Fund (JTF) was created with the aim of alleviating the socioeconomic impacts of the transition to a climate-neutral economy. The JTF focuses specifically on fossil-fuel dependent and carbon-intensive regions, so as to ensure that everyone in Europe benefits from the transition. For the JTF process to be successful, it must ensure that local people feel ‘ownership’ of it and everyone must be involved in how the funds are spent. It is clear that young people have an important role to play in the JTF. Their future will be directly affected by the upcoming transition, and their needs, opinions, fears and hopes are an important part of the dialogue.
In this context, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) published its Toolkit for Youth Participation in the Just Transition Fund. It aims to: (i) encourage more ambitious, meaningful and numerous participation opportunities for young people in the regions targeted by the JTF; and (ii) ensure that the effects of such opportunities will lead to better-quality strategies and interventions addressing the challenges of the transition.
The Toolkit is accompanied by an annex providing detailed outlines of 30 best-practice examples of youth participation from across Europe that are referenced throughout the Toolkit.
The Toolkit is addressed in particular at regional and local policymakers responsible for the implementation of the JTF, as well as other stakeholders involved in the process. One group of stakeholders that was particularly targeted was young people living in the transition regions. It is hoped that they will be inspired by the Toolkit to actively advocate for their involvement in implementation of the JTF. The Toolkit can also be useful for other policies addressing the transition.
Young people serving – or having served – as volunteers under the Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY) project can organise local events to promote EU cohesion policy. These local events canaddress the public and involve the local community thanks to specific financial support given by the European Commission’s DG REGIO.
IVY volunteers can design, plan, and hold events to raise awareness about EU cohesion policy, via ‘citizens’ engagement activities’. The aim of these activities is to exchange information on cohesion policy with the public while informing them about Interreg projects in the region that would improve local development.
Volunteers are encouraged to come up with their own ideas of how to organise citizens’ engagement activities and promote European territorial cooperation. Some examples can be found here: https://www.interregyouth.com/past-citizens-engage.
‘At the School of Open Cohesion’ (ASOC) is an educational challenge and a massive online open course designed for high-school students. It promotes the engagement of students in monitoring the effectiveness of EU cohesion-policy investments by using public open data. The initiative also aims at: (i) fostering a culture of active citizenship; (ii) promoting accountability for public institutions; and (iii) raising awareness of EU cohesion policy among young people. The educational challenge is coupled with a competition: participating students produce a communication product to illustrate the results of their work and compete with their peers nationally and across Europe.
The project has already been implemented successfully in Italy since 2013. Following a call for expressions of interest, the project was replicated with the support of the Commission. during the 2019-2020 school year, following Member States and regions joined Italy: Bulgaria; Croatia; Alentejo (Portugal); Catalonia (Spain); the Peloponnese (Greece); Thessaly (Greece); and Ionian Islands (Greece).
The Commission has budgeted EUR 1 000 000 for a new initiative dedicated to youth to be launched in 2021. Through this initiative, the Commission intend to promote participation of young people in the design and implementation of cohesion policy and in particular with regard to the just transition towards climate neutrality, a greener Europe.
The Commission organised an information session on 25 June 2021 to present the objective of this initiative and the envisaged call for proposals to potential beneficiaries (see presentation ).
2 examples on how to further transparency of information on cohesion funding
The Open Data Platform of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) displays data on investment financing and achievements under the ESI Funds 2014-2020. The platform displays, for over 530 programmes, the latest data available (up to December 2018 for achievements; up to June 2020 for finances implemented; and daily updates for EU payments - see tutorial here).KOHESIO: easilyy access and check EU cohesion-policy projects
Every year, EU cohesion policy supports tens of thousands of projects across Europe, through funding programmes managed by national and regional authorities under the supervision of the European Commission. Each Member State has an obligation to make publicly available information about all projects co-funded by EU cohesion policy. However, this obligation to make information available is not subject to any formal standardisation across all countries. As a result, the information on projects is often scattered across different sources. Kohesio intends to respond to this challenge. It is a knowledge base owned by the European Commission’s DG REGIO, which gathers and links all these scattered project-related data and information for the current funding period (2014-2020). It offers user-friendly navigation and an efficient search engine that covers all projects funded by EU cohesion policy in 2014-2020, namely all projects funded by the ERDF, the European Social Fund, and the Cohesion Fund. Kohesio also contains information related to the beneficiaries of those EU funds.
Kohesio is currently still in its pilot phase and is therefore only displaying data for six pilot Member States: Czechia, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy and Poland.
Helping everyday public administrations improve their skills:
Managing EU funds can be difficult, and there are often needs for training and tools to make the work better and faster. The competence centre for “administrative capacity building” at DG REGIO offers tools, training, support and knowledge to help civil servants increase their skills in topics as specialises as state aid, public procurement and auditing - and as wide as anti-corruption, fraud and civil society partnerships.
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