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International Cooperation Policy

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TACIS City Twinning Programme [1]

Technical assistance and cooperation between local
or regional authorities from the EU and the New
Independent States [2] and Mongolia.


Official title

TACIS City Twinning Programme.


Legal references

  • Council Regulation (EC, EURATOM) No 99/2000 of 29/12/1999.
  • Calls for proposals for partnership-twinning (OJ C 345 of 02/12/1999).



To improve the organisation and procedures of administrative or technical services in the New Independent States (NIS) and Mongolia (referred to hereinafter as the Tacis countries) by means of practical and continuous training of managerial staff from local/regional authorities of the Tacis countries, followed by a period of implementing the reform projects.

In the short term, it is expected that partnerships among local/regional authorities will provide:

  • acquisition of knowledge and know-how;
  • capacity to implement reforms on the basis of knowledge acquired during the practical training sessions;
  • dissemination of the know-how transfer and notification of the results of the reforms undertaken.

In the medium and long term, measurable progress is expected in the fields of managing local/regional authorities in Tacis countries. It is also expected that the project will contribute to reinforcing the partnerships on a long-term basis and decentralised co-operation between the local/regional authorities of the EU and the Tacis countries.



The programme is open to local and regional authorities from the EU Member States and the 13 Tacis countries, namely, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.



Each project will involve authorities from one or more Tacis country and one or more EU Member State. The European Commission encourages several EU local/regional authorities to come together under one project to avoid project overlap.

One EU authority (acting as the project leader authority) will be responsible for submitting the proposal, implementing the project and overseeing the smooth running of the operation. The elected representatives and the personnel from the local/regional authorities of the TACIS countries and the EU must have principal roles in the project while external organisations (eg, consultants, private companies) may provide limited and targeted expertise within budgetary restrictions.



A call for proposals for twinning activities is published periodically in the Official Journal of the European Communities, following negotiations between the European Commission and the individual TACIS country on whether to allocate a budget to Tacis City Twinning (from the Tacis country budget) and what amount. Hence, a call may not necessarily apply to all Tacis partner countries.

A call for proposals is expected to be published at the end of 2001. (See note at end of factsheet)


Eligible measures

The themes chosen must address issues related to the ongoing reforms undertaken by the partner authorities from the Tacis country and must be within the field of expertise of their EU counterparts.

The fields of cooperation may be:

  • Public administration, management reorganisation and improvements;
  • Management of urban areas, area planning and land development;
  • Environment, waste, energy efficiency, water, transport;
  • Social policy, employment, health;
  • Economic development, SME assistance, public/private ownership;
  • Other areas of local and regional competence.

Non-eligible activities include: individual grants or study tours; feasibility studies; large conferences or exhibitions; projects involving investment or major restructuring; founding joint ventures or business; and, traditional cultural twinnings and exchanges.


Nature and amount of financial support

The grant awarded by the European Commission may not exceed 80% of the total eligible budget with a ceiling of 100 000 EURO. The contribution of the partners will therefore amount to a minimum of 20% of the overall budget. Only costs that are considered necessary to carry out the project are eligible, ie, costs relating to staff, travel, accommodation, translation, dissemination of information, sub-contractor studies, telecommunications and minor equipment.

The budget allocations for the Tacis City Twinning programme is made on a country-by-country basis. Each partner country decides, in co-ordination with the European Commission, whether to allocate a budget to Tacis City Twinning and what amount. This programming exercise takes place on an annual basis for both Russia and Ukraine and every two years in the case of the other Tacis countries.



The execution of the project should last no longer than 18 months and should comprise the following elements:

Preparatory visit

A visit to the Tacis partner city or region during which the trainees will be selected.

Training in the EU

At least 3 middle to senior managers from the Tacis partner authority will spend a minimum of 12-15 weeks in practical training within the EU authority.

The Tacis trainees may be accompanied by a political representative for a shorter period of time.

Implementation in the Tacis partner country

When the practical training course has been completed, the managers return to their region to implement the knowledge acquired in the form of a reform or restructuring project. During the 8 weeks that follow the training period, officials from the EU partner authority are required to accompany and assist in the implementation of the chosen reform.

Conferences and seminars

Furthermore, a pooling of information and experience acquired by the local/regional authorities will be ensured during the project period through joint opening and closing conferences as well as 2 thematic conferences organised for all participants by the programme secretariat.

Throughout the entire running of the programme, the programme secretariat will provide assistance for the local/regional authorities.


Communication means

  • Call for proposals published in the official journal C 345 of 02/12/1999 (all EU languages);

  • Application forms (EN and FR) and guidelines (presently in English but will soon be available in all EU languages and Russian) can be downloaded from the following web site at:


Additional sources of information


            [1] The Small Project Programmes under Tacis (such as Tacis City Twinning) are shortly to be replaced by a single programme called Institutional Building. The European Commission is currently drawing up the new guidelines for this programme. Consequently, the Tacis City Twinning programme per se will cease to exist but its activities will continue under the Civil Society measure of the new programme and will remain largely unchanged.

            [2] Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan



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