Civil Society Forum
Mind the Gap with Practice

Wednesday 6 October 2010 14.30 – 17.00
European Commission, Borschette Centre
36 Rue Froissart, 1040 Brussels


The Partnership principle is a fundamental pillar of the Cohesion Policy. It aims to achieve the closest possible cooperation in each Member State between the Commission and the relevant authorities at the national, regional and local level throughout all the various phases of the Structural Funds from preparation to implementation (including monitoring and evaluation).

The Civil Society Forum – Principle of Partnership, “Mind the Gap with Practice?” – will be held, for the fifth consecutive year, in the context of the Open Days 2010, European Week of Regions and Cities.

Last year’s forum taught us that despite the improvements, a lot remains to be done in order to have a real and active partnership. Obstacles to the partnership such as the information gap to potential partners, lack of capacity of the partners and lack of stability block the evolution of this principle.

The partnership principle could be strengthened by an active involvement of partners in all steps of the process and by ensuring a deeper transparency and access to documents.

The better application and implementation of the partnership principle will lead to a profitable discussion between Member States and the social and economic partners which will generate an improvement of democratic capacity and an independent regional policy.

Following the thread of last year’s workshop, this year’s forum will be the natural continuation of last year’s discussion on the partnership principle. This session will include a discussion of different approaches, including academic input from IQ-Net, on how the partnership principle is being implemented across the EU and discussion on recent work carried out by the European Economic and Social Committee.The European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) will present its report “Mind the Gap – Towards a better enforcement of European Citizens’ rights of free movement” which explains the practical reality faced by European citizens by first considering the gap between the legal framework and the way it is applied, and then considering the measures that might be taken to close this gap.

For this event, ECAS will prepare a background discussion document covering concepts and different approaches to partnership and an overview of the implementation of the principle.


Moderator                Thomas WOBBEN, Representation of Saxony-Anhalt to the European Union

Keynote speeches

14.30 – 14.50          Dirk AHNER (tbc), European Commission, Director General, DG REGIO

Panel discussion

14.50 – 15.10          Jan OLSSON, European Economic and Social Committee
15.10 – 15.30          Laura POLVERARI, Senior Research Fellow, European Policies Research Centre
15.30 – 15.50         Tony VENABLES, ECAS - presenting the results of the ECAS publication “Mind the Gap”.

The panel will be followed by an interactive debate:

15.50 – 16.30          Questions for debate:
• “How can partnership organisations improve capacity?”
• “What can the regions do to strengthen the partnership?”
• “What can be done to enforce the partnership principle in the European cohesion policy regulations?”

16.30 – 17.00           Conclusions


Documents from the event:

Workshop: “PRINCIPLE OF PARTNERSHIP – “Mind the Gap with Practice”

How to foster efficient partnership in Cohesion policy programmes - Jan OLSSON (EESC Rapporteur)

How to foster efficient partnership in the management of cohesion policy programmes (EESC opinion)


New partnership dynamics in a changing cohesion policy context


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