Administrative twinning projects were established by the European Commission in 1998 with the
aim of providing pre-accession assistance to Countries wishing to join the Union; an EU Member
State assists a candidate Country as it prepares to join the Union or a new Member State to
complete the upgrading of its administrative system and approximation of its laws and regulations
to the Community acquis.
The expression “Community acquis” is the body of common rights and obligations that is binding
on all the EU Member States: it comprises the principles, political objectives and provisions of
the Treaties; the legislation adopted pursuant to the Treaties and the case law of the Court of
Justice; the declarations and resolutions adopted by the Union; the instruments under the Common
Foreign and Security Policy; the acts adopted in the judicial and internal affairs area; the
international agreements concluded by the Union and those entered into by the member states among
themselves within the sphere of the Union’s activities.
In order to implement a Twinning Project, the beneficiary Country (the applicant Country or a
new Member State) proposes to the European Commission a Project concerning an area of special
interest to it (Finance, Agriculture, Health, etc.).
After an impact assessment of the project on the process for improving the public
institutions in the beneficiary Country, the European Commission approves the project and forwards
it to the various National Contact Points (for Italy the Contact Point is Office II of the General
Directorate for European Integration of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs) that publish the call for
twinning projects on their web sites.
The Administrations interested in the initiative may submit their proposals for the
implementation of the project which, through the National Contact Points, are forwarded to the
Delegation of the European Commission in the beneficiary Country. The Delegation of the European
Commission gathers all the proposals made by the various administrations and sets a date for the
presentation of the proposals in the beneficiary Country. Upon completion of the presentations, the
Delegation of the European Commission discloses the administration that the beneficiary Country has
chosen for the implementation of the project.
The preparatory phase of the project, then begins, and ends after about six months with the
signing of the contract (Twinning Contract) and implementation of the project.
Within the framework of close cooperation between the institutions involved, the public
officials belonging to the administrations of the selected Member Country and external experts make
available their knowledge, know-how and skills to foster the upgrading of the administrative
capacities of the beneficiary Country in the sector of the Community acquis of interest.