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The European Commission adopted the European Code of Conduct on the Partnership Principle for the Structural and Investment Funds 2014-2020



The Code of Conduct has been adopted on 7th January by the European Commission setting out the objectives and criteria to ensure that Member States implement the partnership principle within the Structural and Investment Funds for the period 2014-2020. The regulation makes an explicit reference to the participation of Roma people in Partnership Agreements and programmes. 

“Specific attention should be paid to including groups who may be affected by programmes but who find it difficult to influence them, in particular the most vulnerable and marginalised communities, which are at highest risk of discrimination or social exclusion, in particular persons with disabilities, migrants and Roma people.” 

The main objective of the Code of Conduct is that Member States strengthen cooperation between the authorities responsible for spending the EU funds and project partners by improving consultation processes, transparency, participation and dialogue with partners during the whole process (planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation) of projects financed by the European and Investment Funds[1].

The document indicates that the partners involved should be at least regional, local, urban and other public authorities, trade unions, employers, non-governmental organizations and bodies responsible for promoting social inclusion, gender equality and non-discrimination. In fact, the text states that “for each programme, Member States shall identify the relevant partners among at least the following:

  • (a)   Competent regional, local, urban and other public authorities, including: (…)

    • (iii) (…) bodies for the promotion of equal treatment established in accordance with Council Directive 2000/43//EC (…)
    • (iv) other bodies organized at national, regional or local level and authorities representing the areas where integrated territorial investments and local development strategies funded by the programme are carried out. (…)

  • (b)   Bodies representing civil society, such as environmental partners, non-governmental organizations, and bodies responsible for promoting social inclusion, gender equality and non-discrimination including: (…)

    • (iii) other organizations or groups which are significantly affected or likely to be significantly affected by the implementation of the ESI Funds; in particular, groups considered to be at risk of discrimination and social exclusion.

The Regulation has been adopted together with the release of a set of good practices in this field in order to support Member States in the adoption of each National Partnership Agreements, which will be done in the next months. 

Source and additional information: European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

[1] ESIF: European Social Fund, European Regional Development Fund, Cohesion Fund, European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund