The President of the CPMR and of the Autonomous Regional Government of the Azores, Mr. Vasco Cordeiro, has written an open letter to the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union calling on them to support a post-2020 EU Cohesion Policy based on strong partnership principles, with regions at its core.

The letter has been sent as the co-legislators prepare to hold negotiations on certain aspects of the future EU Cohesion policy package, including the partnership and multi-level governance principle.

The CPMR has always defended a strong multi-level governance arrangement in partnership with regions as the core of the Cohesion policy governance.

The position of the European Parliament is strongly aligned with that of the CPMR, but the Council position proposes to water down partnership provisions and remove the obligation for Member States to prepare a Partnership Agreement when they receive small allocations (less than 2.5bn) from ESI funds – ERDF, CF and ESF+, or when they have less than three operational programmes.

In its letter, the CPMR calls on the Parliament and the Council to consider its messages and proposals for amendments to safeguard partnership and multi-level governance mechanisms for Cohesion policy after 2020:

1) The core principles of Cohesion policy, such as shared management, partnership and multilevel governance, must be maintained. The CPMR has asked for Article 6 of the CPR on ‘Partnership and Multilevel Governance’ to clearly establish regional and local authorities as partners, and to ensure their involvement in the preparation and implementation of operational programmes and the partnership agreement itself.

2) The partnership agreement should be drawn up together with regional authorities to guarantee that regional and local actors are at the core of the programming process. The CPMR has asked for the establishment of a flexible framework as a strategic document for all Member States, to facilitate the coordination of ESI funds from different administrative levels, with sufficient leeway for regional authorities in relation to planning, governance and the targeting the funds in line with their own regional development strategies.