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Administrative Twinnings and International Cooperation

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.