The Partnership Agreement is a document which defines a strategic framework shared by the four structural and investment funds and is entered into by the member State and the European Commission. It helps determine the guidelines of the 2014-2020 programming period and the nature of the European funds' involvement in the territories. This agreement is a regulatory requirement, which did not exist during the previous programming period of 2007-2013.
The Partnership Agreement is defined in conjunction with:
- local authorities, central and decentralised administrations;
- the socio-economic partners;
- civil society.
To successfully complete this mission, France organised a major nationwide consultation, with 350 bodies participating in the debate, throughout 2013. The objective was to define together the guiding principles of the Partnership Agreement. The former DATAR (Delegation for territorial planning and regional attractiveness, now known as CGET) organised the nationwide consultation and coordinated the final draft of the Partnership Agreement.
For one year, the members of the national Partnership sent their contributions to the former DATAR and attended seminars on themes covered by the European funds. For the first time, the citizens were also invited to contribute to the future allocation of European funds in their country, and were able to post their contributions online.
Using the contributions of the members of the national Partnership and the general public, the former DATAR, in conjunction with a smaller group of partners, developed the guiding principles of the Partnership Agreement. The document was extensively discussed with the members of the Partnership and resulted in a negotiation version sent to the European Commission on 31 December.