05 Nov The partnership in a European Project : The Key Element
A European cooperation project is based on an essential element : the partnership. Cooperation is the keystone of a European project. Indeed, the constitution of the partnership and the role of each partner is closely examined during the evaluation of an application for a call for projects.
A solid partnership enables a European project to be built and lasting partnership relations to be established : here we give you advice on how to form and manage a partnership in the context of a European project.
How to form a partnership ?
Choosing partners is a difficult exercise, which is why you need to build a partnership on solid foundations. Forming a good partnership is therefore based on four main elements: complementarity, common goal and a clear definition of the roles and obligations of each party.
Teaming up and finding the right partners is a decisive issue. This implies for the lead partner to self-assess; to evaluate his or her skills, strengths and weaknesses. Indeed, the richness of a consortium lies in the complementarity of its know-how and the diversity of its members. This interdependence makes it possible to avoid any competition between partners. The lead partner thus demonstrates its ability to mobilise its environment and work with others around a common project.
The common goal is the essence of the partnership and the project. Preliminary work enables the partners to share their respective interests, to identify a common interest and to identify a common problem encountered within a professional sector. This must be aimed at improving the general interest. Indeed, the European Union’s mission is to finance cultural projects if they respond to the orientations it has set itself: increasing employment, integration, research and development, actions in favour of the climate, the fight against poverty… and if they target clearly identified needs.
Definition of the roles
To build a sustainable partnership, partners can compare their skills and their contribution to the project. This crucial step leads to a clear and balanced division of labour. In this way, each partner is aware of its obligations and its level of involvement within the project.
In an EU-funded project, all partners are legally responsible for the expenses that will be incurred and the actions that will be carried out. A cooperation agreement, also called a Partner’s Agreement , is drawn up by the lead partner and approved by the consortium. This agreement acts as an act of solidarity between the partners. In addition, it sets out the rules and values of cooperation. In the event of disagreement, it is the document to which the partners can refer.
How to manage a European partnership ?
Managing a European partnership implies a relationship of trust and continuous dialogue between partners. The coordinator leads and ensures that the project runs smoothly.
Trust, transparency, caring and respect
The co-ordinator must establish a relationship of trust and mutual respect between the partners. Partnership relations must be transparent. The lead partner also pays attention to the pace of decision-making and implementation of project actions. In short, the lead partner must ensure that exchanges are friendly and that partners can explain themselves frankly.
As this is an international project, the partners exchange in a language that is often not their own. This can lead to tensions and misunderstandings. This is why semantic work on the terms used can help to clarify misunderstandings.
Finally, the question of trust is a matter of working on the informal, particularly during working meetings. These informal times allow partners to get to know each other and build long-term relationships. Focus on hospitality! Don’t hesitate to invite your partners for a meal, a drink, but also to visit a place, to live an experience together !
In order to achieve their common goal, partners must communicate continuously throughout the duration of the project. You should plan regular dialogue times, even if they are brief. The lead partner, in agreement with the partners, must set up a consultation and decision-making process. Governance rules, basic procedures and collaborative communication tools can also be put in place to facilitate exchanges.
Find out more about partnership relations within an EU project: