New features of the 2014-2020 period include closer cooperation between different partners in Member States and better coordination between EU, national and regional interventions. The requirement to elaborate Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes simultaneously puts significant strain on administrative capacities. Low absorption rates and the results of the mid-term evaluations of the 2007-2013 programming period had already indicated that major improvements were necessary in administrative capacities in many Member States. Administrative capacity relates to a wide range of different governance levels and features, involving human resources management as well as the national and regional legal frameworks and processes. The purpose of the study is to show how Member States have learned from the past and how the improvement of administrative capacities facilitates better preparation for the 2014-2020 programming period. The study provides a series of recommendations to improve the capacity for programming and implementing the ESI Funds in the future, distinguishing between different levels of governance.