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The Future CP Italia Malta 2014-2020
In July 2012 the Monitoring Committee of the OP Italia Malta 2007-2013 decided to establish a task force that was in charge to discuss and share the main issues of the future cooperation between Sicily and Malta as well as the thematic objectives of the European Territorial Cooperation 2014 2020 that supported the drafting of the OP Italia Malta 2014-2020.
The task force was made up of one representative of the Managing Authority, one representative of the Funds and Programmes Division (MNCA), one representative of the Italian Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico and one component of the Joint Technical Secretariat of the OP Italia Malta 2007-2013. The task force had the possibility to include a representative of the horizontal policies as well as a representative responsible for the thematic matters that the task force dealt with.
Pursuant to Article. 5 of the CPR, the Planning Department of Sicily Region as reconfirmed in its function of Managing Authority of OP Italy-Malta 2014-2020, identified a combined and multilevel approach to the preparatory and programming activities for the OP 2014-2020, in collaboration with the Funds and Programmes Division.
The combined approach entailed the design of the OP based on both the decision and orientation of the cross-border Task Force and the recommendations of the cooperation area partnership which was consulted from time to time.
The multilevel approach involved both general partnerships (open to all public/private subjects and citizens) and qualified partnerships (aimed at involving authorities and subjects skilled in the OP priority issues) in the different public consultation processes.
Hereunder is a breakdown of the involvement process launched by the authorities in charge of drafting the Italy-Malta 2014-2020 OP as from 2012.
The 1st task force meeting was held in July 2012 and the work modalities were shared as well as some cooperation areas of the future OP Italia Malta 2014 were drafted. The main output of the meeting was a programme structure hypothesis and the identification of possible thematic objectives to be further discussed.
At the beginning of 2013, during the 2nd meeting, the task force group defined the negotiated procedures to be adopted between Member States in synergy with the European Commission by also drafting an action plan and identifying the roles and responsibilities of the authorities involved in the drafting of the OP and of the ones in charge of drawing up the ex-ante evaluation and the strategic environmental assessment. The issue related to the selection of thematic objectives was further discussed as well as the need for a public consultation to be launched in order to involve the population, the socio-economic and institutional partners in the definition of the investment priorities. Thus, the main outputs of the meeting were the definition of the programming steps and the approval of the modalities to involve the general and the qualified partnership.
During the months of February and March 2013, in line with the European Commission staff working document “The partnership principle in the implementation of the Common Strategic Framework Funds - elements for a European Code of Conduct on Partnership” a public consultation through an on line survey was launched.
The web platform of the OP Italia Malta 2007-2013 www.italiamalta.eu as well as the Sicily Region institutional website www.regione.sicilia.it, the Sicilian ERDF website www.euroinfosicilia.it and the Maltese Government website www.fpd.gov.mt were made available from the 16th of February to the 31st of March 2013 for completing an online questionnaire. The rationale behind the decision to publish the questionnaire on the above four web sites was due to the fact that they represent the most visited institutional web sites in Malta and Sicily so that to facilitate the widest involvement and an active participation of the partners. The aim of the survey was to collect contributions and indications in order to contribute to the definition of thematic objectives and investment priorities, to the improvement of programme implementation and to streamlining the next OP’s effectiveness. The beneficiaries involved were both socio-economic and institutional partners as well as private subjects and citizens, in particular: 1) Regional and local authorities, municipalities and other public authorities; 2) Socio-economic representatives; 3) Organizations representing civil society, environmental partners, non-governmental organizations, and bodies responsible for promoting equal opportunities. The questionnaires deemed as valid were 215 and they were further analyzed using the SPSS software for the analysis of statistical data. The great part of the participants were high skilled (89%), mainly working as employees (70%), aged between 35-50 years (47%) and over 50 years old (35%). The most interested bodies that took part to the survey were public (75%) and private (11%) entities. The questions proposed investigated the level of information on the strategy "Europe 2020", the level of importance attributed to new investment priorities, the promotion of equal opportunities and ultimately the overall evaluation of the 2007-2013 programme still in progress. The main results of the public consultation represented a tool for the Task Force of the Italy-Malta CBC Programme 2014-2020.
The report with the main outputs of the public consultation was the preparatory work of the 3rd Task force meeting held in May 2013. The Managing Authority submited to the group a strategic guidance document to the path planning of the OP Italia-Malta 20  14-2020. The document was drawn up with aim of: 1) highlighting the results of the public consultation process carried out at the CBC area level; 2 ) analyzing Italian and Maltese position papers, drawn up by the European Commission, 3) submitting a first draft of the SWOT analysis carried out on the basis of the principal assets of the cross-border area, of the results achieved by ordinary and strategic projects and of the main results of the mid-term evaluation in relation to the 2007-2013 programming period.
Following the drafting of the Strategic Guidance Document, in July 2013, the Managing Authority with the contribution of the Joint Technical Secretariat organized a co-working activity with qualified partnership, in Syracuse. It dealt with a significant added value initiative due to the fact that the partnership involved significantly influenced strategic choices in terms of definition of the future investment priorities and expected results of the OP Italia Malta 2014-2020. This goal was reached through the use of a work methodology known as Art of Hosting Meaningful Conversation within the co-working activity; that is to say to experiment techniques stimulating common intelligence to guide common choices when important decisions that involve a group and/or a community have to be made. The activity, organized in two working sessions, namely a “world café” and an “open space technology”,  involved about 90 cross-border local actors belonging to the following categories: central, regional, local authorities (ministries, regional departments, municipalities); universities and research centres; highly qualified consortia in the agri-food sector; entities involved in the environmental protection and management; SMEs’ organizations; associations of the third sector and social economy; associations for the protection of civil rights and health, representatives of professional categories (medical doctors and paramedics). The main results of the activity were the drafting of 12 thematic sheets aimed at the consolidation of the SWOT analysis and 12 thematic sheets for specific investment actions. In order to facilitate a wide involvement and an active participation of the partners, including in terms of accessibility, the two sessions of the co-working activities were held in Syracuse where a good number of air/sea connections guaranteed the possibility for the Maltese partners to take part in a low cost initiative without wasting time.
Once again, after having consolidated the results of the co-working activity, a new public consultation for consolidating the SWOT analysis was launched. The web platform of the OP Italia Malta 2007-2013 www.italiamalta.eu was made available from the 2nd of December to the 31st of December 2013 to receive integrations to the SWOT analysis on the main assets targeted by the OP Italia Malta 2014-2020: Objective 1 – Enhancing research, technological development and innovation; Objective 3 – Promoting the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises; Objective 6 – Protecting environment and promoting the efficient use of resources. The comments received where integrated in the draft document and the definitive version was sent to authorities involved in the drafting of the OP.
After the approval of the legislative package, in December 2013, the Managing Authority with the contribution of the Joint Technical Secretariat submitted the document “Summary sheet of the intervention strategy” to the 4th task force group that met in February 2014. The document was a draft of logic of intervention behind the future OP Italia Malta 2014-2020. In particular, the document summarized the thematic objectives selected, the possible investment priorities, the justifications for selecting them, the possible specific objectives corresponding to the investment priorities and a non-exhaustive number of result indicators corresponding to the specific objectives.
Within the 5th task force meeting held in June 2014, the group more in depth analysed the investment priorities selected per each thematic objectives as well as the specific objectives and the expected results for each investment priorities. The task force group also dealt with the sections n. 5, 6 and 7 of the official CP template.
In July 2014, the 6th task force meeting was held with the aim of sharing the whole programme structure before drawing up the definitive version of the OP as well as the budget allocation per thematic objectives and the technical assistance plan. During the meeting the representatives also decided to launch the public consultation of the CP by mid August 2014 in order to further involve the qualified partnership such as public administration, private organizations, intermediaries of knowledge, SMEs’ representatives and so on.