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Transparency and public participation in EU funds decision making

The Cohesion Policy's partnership principle prescribes the inclusion of local authorities and civil society in the delivery of EU funds. This, as research has shown, improves project quality, curbs potential corruption cases and brings tangible social and environmental benefits to communities.

In many member states however, public participation is reduced to a formal process (for instance limited to the so-called Monitoring Committees). Independent experts and affected communities have often very limited access to information and can not voice their opinions effectively.

To strengthen transparency and participation, the EU and its national managing authorities need to provide for:

  • Full involvement of stakeholders into all stages of the Cohesion Policy cycle – program planning, project development, monitoring and evaluation – at European, national and regional level;
  • Minimum standards for access to information and full disclosure of costs and impacts of programmes, projects and subsidies;
  • Capacity building and technical assistance for independent civil society organisations, specifically in the context of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), which offers assistance to countries engaged in the process of accession to the EU.


At the start of spending: Environmental partners still ostracised
Briefing | December 15, 2015

An assessment of the application of the “European Code of Conduct on Partnership” during the establishment of the national implementation bodies and the first phase of ESI Funds implementation in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia.

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Previous briefings and assessments

Better results and smoother uptake - guarantee partners' involvement during EU funds implementation and monitoring

This paper offers practical suggestions to strengthen the role of civil society in the implementation and monitoring of EU regional development funding. After environmental partners could significant improve the mainstreaming of environmental protection requirements throughout Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes, it is all the more important to ensure that partners can also contribute during the implementation phase.

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Partners' involvement during EU funds programming: left-out on crucial questions (pdf)
December 19, 2014


The devil is in the implementation - Experiences from the partnership principle in central and eastern European practice (pdf)
Briefing | Latest version: March 19, 2014

or see earlier assessments