The European Commission’s White Paper on the Future of Europe prompted renewed discussion about the future of cohesion policy and its partnership principle. In the current debates there is widespread agreement that the partnership principle must be further improved. In the view of the Centre for Cross Border Studies, the required improvement of the partnership principle relates to the need for greater active participation of citizens in the development, implementation and evaluation of Cohesion Policy, leading to a truer bottom-up approach that can ensure the policy’s full potential is enabled. It is our contention that a Partnership Principle with greater active citizen participation will contribute to bringing citizens closer to the structures of governance, including the institutions of the European Union. However, it is also a principle that needs to have a much clearer cross-border vision where it operates in border regions, enabling citizens to participate on a cross-border basis in its application. This can only be achieved through improved communication between governance structures and citizens in general, but – in the case of border regions – through better cross-border communication between those structures in the different jurisdictions, and between these and their citizens.