The EU’s Twinning instrument

Twinning is an instrument launched by the European Commission in the course of European Union enlargement. On account of its great success this instrument is now implemented not only in EU accession or candidate countries, but also in countries neighbouring the EU.

European Union Twinning projects

The main aim of twinning remains unchanged: in time-limited and EU-funded administrative partnership projects, Member States support EU accession and candidate countries as well as countries neighbouring the EU in building public-sector structures in accordance with European administrative practice.

How does Twinning work?

Partnership projects are requested by countries with a demand for twinning partnerships and are awarded in a competitive procedure among the EU Member States. They are carried out by an expert sent by a Member State administration (resident twinning advisor) to reside for an extended period of time in the partner country as well as by adjunct short-term experts. The time-limited cooperation supported by twinning aims to establish long-term cooperation between administrations in Member States and partner countries that is intended to last beyond the duration of the project.

How is Germany involved in Twinning?

Germany is by far the most active EU Member State in environmental matters.  Under the aegis of the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Germany has been involved in more than 85 twinning projects in the environmental sector since 1998. The German commitment in the field of environmental protection prioritises projects on air and water monitoring, waste disposal and waste legislation, Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC), general support for the development of environmental strategies, the establishment of structural funds and general measures to build up administrative structures.

What is the role of the German Federal Environment Agency?

Twinning projects can only be implemented successfully if the authorities at the federal and Laender level make their staff available to the projects. Up to now, the Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt – UBA) has been involved in more than 70 projects, either by making expertise and experts available, or through project management.