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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Friday, 28.02.2020, 22:43

Cohesion policy through subsidiarity: new Commission’s initiatives

Eugene Eteris, BC International Editor, Riga, 12.02.2020.Print version
The Commission decided to launch new pilot actions to involve more states and citizens in the resolution of EU’s cohesion projects. The aim is to support active involvement of citizens and civil society organisations in the way the EU funds are planned, invested and monitored, to ultimately ensure better results.

Under these pilot actions, managing EU authorities of the Cohesion funds and the member states’ civil society organisations will receive expert advice and support to develop the necessary knowledge and skills for rolling out the cohesion projects.


Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira underlined that the EU cohesion policy has been “on the frontline of the modern European citizens’ challenges, i.e. from climate to innovation, from social inclusion and skills to connectivity”. It is therefore important, she added to have “a bigger say in the way this policy is delivered”. Besides, both the public authorities and civil society organisations in the states will reap the benefits of more active citizens' participation.


Reference to: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_197


Pilot actions

With more than €350 bn total budget, Cohesion Policy is the EU's main investment policy and one of its most concrete expressions of solidarity. Sound institutions and good administrative capacity are important for the success of these investments. Citizens have a vital role to play in making public authorities more transparent and accountable and in making public investment more effective.  

The European Commission is organising two pilot actions in Cohesion Policy and a high-level conference on the issue of engaging citizens in good governance (6 February 2020); the aim of the conference was to examine initiatives under Cohesion Policy in strengthening  citizens’ engagement and getting inspiration for Cohesion Policy from examples of citizen participation. An open and transparent debate with all involved parties would make it possible to take a users' perspective on how to bring Cohesion Policy closer to citizens.

 

Under the first pilot action, authorities managing EU funds will receive top class expertise from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD and tailored assistance in setting up new initiatives to involve citizens and promote transparency and accountability. The call for managing authorities who want to participate in this initiative is presently; more on the “call for expression” in: https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/newsroom/funding-opportunities/calls-for-expressions-of-interest/

 

Under the second pilot action, the Commission will set aside €250,000 in “grassroots” financing to support innovative ideas and initiatives for promoting citizen engagement coming from smaller and local civil society organisations in particular. The goal will be to test new approaches of citizen engagement and stimulate, promote and support citizen engagement in the EU’s cohesion policy for a better implementation of the projects and a stronger sense of ownership of their results among citizens: the call to submit ideas will be opened soon. New policy will take into account feedback from these organisations on their needs to play an active role on co-creation of policies, participation and monitoring.


Perspectives & conference

The two actions will be carried out during 2020; their results will be disseminated through a report on the lessons learnt from the different projects as well as tips on how to engage citizens more in cohesion policy. The aim is to promote similar initiatives in EU’s Cohesion Policy programmes under the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027.

The Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy organised a high-level conference “Engaging citizens for good governance in Cohesion Policy” (6.02.20) on engaging citizens and civil society in Cohesion Policy. The conference focused 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.


Among key questions addressed at the conference were: how can citizens and civil society contribute to good governance in EU Cohesion Policy; how to bring Cohesion Policy closer to citizens; and what are the experiences from cooperation between authorities and citizens across Europe?


More in: https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/newsroom/events/2020/02/high-level-conference-engaging-citizens-for-good-governance-in-cohesion-policy






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