The Commission encourages the setting up of 'twinning' programmes to allow those EU countries which are preparing to introduce the euro to draw on the expertise acquired by those which have already done so. As many as 10 twinning projects took place in 2005 and 2006, and another two are about to be launched. The projects cover various aspects of the practical preparations for the introduction of the euro, with a particular focus on communication.
Initially inspired by the PHARE twinning model, euro twinning agreements are designed to promote the exchange of good practice and the transfer of technical expertise, and to enable the participants learn from past experience.
A twinning agreement can involve two or more EU countries, and participants usually come from the ministries of economy and finance, national central banks, consumer associations and chambers of commerce, and national changeover boards.
Between 2005 and 2007, twinning agreements have been concluded on the following topics:
Twinnings have so far involved representatives from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Ireland and the Netherlands sharing their experience, and the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia looking to draw on that experience. Latvia will join the list by the end of 2007.
The European Commission contributes to the twinning arrangements by helping to identify potential twinning partners, providing technical support, and co-financing the secondment of experts, meetings, seminars, and training sessions.