Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • Programmes
  • Programme to stimulate and promote cooperation agreements (commercial, technological, financial) between enterprises in less developed or declining industrial regions and enterprises in other Member States, 1987-
To stimulate the development of less favoured regions by encouraging SMEs from all over the Community to establish business relationships with their counterparts in these regions.


The Europartenariat initiative was launched in 1987 as part of the European Commission's regional and enterprise policy to help SMEs fully benefit from the advantages of the Single Market. It aims to encourage contact and cooperation between:

- Enterprises from less developed regions (Objective 1) or from regions in industrial decline (Objective 2);
- Enterprises from other Member States or from non-Community countries.

Europartenariat is centred on two-day events, organized twice a year, in host regions selected by the Commission, to which representatives from businesses throughout Europe are invited in order to meet with potential partners from the host region. Europartenariat events provide instant information on the economic, social, financial and fiscal environment in the host region concerned, and on the various forms financial assistance available. Moreover, by highlighting business potential and providing an effective working framework for the development of economic, technological and financial cooperation, Europartenariat stimulates local development, enhances the region's image and provides it with a structural boost.

The success rate of Europartenariat events in the past has been impressive, with a continuous increase in both the number of participants (from both the host country and from other European countries) and in the number of meetings organized between businesses. Statistics show that roughly 60% of meetings result in continued contacts, whilst 40% actually lead to signed contracts between businesses from the host region and visiting companies. The programme has also had considerable success in prompting many companies, often for the first time, to assess their opportunities on a wider scale outside of their regional and national markets. It has also encouraged them to reassess their overall business strategies and enabled them to gain a better insight into the competitive environment and to develop a large number of technological, commercial and financial partnership agreements.


No details are available for this section.


The Europartenariat programme is managed jointly by DG XVI (Regional policy) and DG XXIII (Enterprise policy) of the European Commission.

Europartenariat events are generally organized over a twelve month period with preparatory work involving four stages:

- Selection of host companies:
The Europartenariat organizers first select suitable businesses for inclusion from among those who apply (normally 300-400 firms from the host region are selected). Host companies apply through national Europartenariat officials (see below). The main criteria for company selection are their efficiency and the quality of their cooperation proposals, developed in function of the Europartenariat event;

- Production of the Europartenariat event:
The activity profile and cooperation proposals for companies of companies selected for inclusion are brought together in a catalogue, which appears in six languages (English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese). Copies are usually printed and distributed several months before the Europartenariat event.
- Search for potential cooperation partners:
The identification of potential cooperation partners is assisted by Europartenariat officers, called National Counsellors, in each country. They advertise for and advise interested parties on the Europartenariat event and help with the practical preparations for the event. (The National Counsellors are assisted in their work by various European Community networks, such as the Business and Innovation Centres, the Euro-Info Centres, the Business Cooperation Network (BC-NET) and the correspondents of the Business Cooperation Office (BRE);

- The Europartenariat event:
Companies within the European Union and beyond can decide, with the help of the catalogue, which host companies they would like to arrange to meet. Using a special computer program, the meetings are then planned during the two-day event. Additional meetings can, of course, be arranged on the spot with the assistance of National Counsellors. Event organizers provide suitable facilities for all meetings and, where required, an interpreting service;

Europartenariat events are supported from an annual budget provided from the Structural Funds (DG XVI) and from DG XXIII (Enterprise Policy, Distributive Trades, Tourism). For Europartenariat events organized in development areas of the Member States (Objective 1 and 2 regions), two-thirds of the cost is carried by the European Commission. The other third is paid for by the host region. Host companies pay a small fee but visiting companies can attend the event free of charge.
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