The EESC supports the creation of a Common Strategic Framework which seeks to enhance the coordination and complementarity between the EU's main funding instruments. An effective CSF will also remove the unnecessary and inefficient separation that currently exists between the key funds.
The higher intensity of coordination requested by the CSF must however lead to a reduction in the administrative burden on the managing and implementing authorities as well as the beneficiaries. A thorough analysis of the new administrative procedures must be carried out by the Commission prior to actual implementation.
Organised civil society must be involved in a meaningful manner in drawing up Partnership Contracts. Whilst acknowledging that individual Member States and regions have their own mechanisms and structures to engage with civil society, the Commission must monitor such processes. Where it is found that civil society has not been meaningfully involved, then the Partnership Contract should not be accepted by the Commission until proper engagement has taken place.
The EESC is concerned that the delays in achieving political agreement on the Cohesion legislative package, including the CSF, will have a negative impact on the preparations of the Partnership Contracts and therefore impinge negatively on the efficient start of the 2014-2020 programming period.