The EESC President Staffan Nilsson called on Member States to endorse the partnership principle in the cohesion policy and to adopt a European Code of Conduct on Partnership, as proposed by the Commission in the Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 package. At the Informal Meeting of Ministers for Cohesion Policy in Nicosia today, the EESC President emphasised the role of civil society in the implementation of the cohesion policy, as a significant element of the partnership principle and as a prerequisite for getting real results at regional and local levels. Staffan Nilsson voiced the EESC's concerns about the Council's weakening of the European Commission's proposals on partnership and the deletion of a reference to a European Code of Conduct on Partnership.
Partnership with regional and local authorities as well as with organised civil society is a fundamental principle underlying the EU's cohesion policy. In its recommendations to the Commission the Committee states clearly that the impact of EU cohesion projects is strengthened significantly where there is a strong partnership involvement. "Cohesion policy is the only tool which allows and enables the EU to manifest itself at regional, local and citizen level. It is also the main tool that the EU has for investing in the real economy and contributing to growth and job creation against the backdrop of the Europe 2020 strategy", as Mr Nilsson pointed out to EU Member State representatives. This message was also endorsed and reinforced by the President of the Committee of the Regions, Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, who stated that "cohesion policy is an essential tool for the economic recovery and it is important to ensure effective coordination between cohesion policy and the European Semester while applying the multilevel governance approach to the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy".