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Twinning is a European Union instrument for institutional cooperation between Public Administrations of EU Member States and of beneficiary or partner countries.

Twinning projects bring together public sector expertise from EU Member States and beneficiary countries with the aim of achieving concrete mandatory operational results through peer to peer activities.


- Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA):

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia [1], the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo*[2], Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.

- European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP):

• ENI South: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia.
• ENI East: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.


In the IPA region, Twinning aims to provide support for the transposition, implementation and enforcement of the EU legislation (the Union acquis). It builds up capacities of beneficiary countries' public administrations throughout the accession process, resulting in progressive, positive developments in the region. Twinning strives to share good practices developed within the EU with beneficiary public administrations and to foster long-term relationships between administrations of existing and future EU countries.

Since 2004 the Twinning instrument is also available to some of the EU Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood partner countries. In this framework it aims at upgrading the administrative capacities of the public administration of a partner country through the training of its staff and the support to the reorganisation of its structure. It also supports the approximation of national laws, regulations and quality standards to those of EU Member States in the framework of Cooperation or Association agreements signed with the EU.

Twinning principles

The beneficiary / partner administration in a Twinning project is a public administration with sufficient staff and absorption capacity to work with a Member State institution having a similar structure and mandate. The beneficiary / partner country must mobilise its staff, demonstrate enduring commitment and ownership and take on board changes and best practices in a sustainable way. Twinning is not a one-way technical assistance instrument but a shared commitment.

Twinning projects are implemented with a view to the mandatory results to be achieved. They are usually articulated in components corresponding to the expected results and foresee a number of activities including workshops, training sessions, expert missions, study visits, internships and counselling. Twinning lies on learning by doing principle and sharing of best practices.

Transferring expertise

To set up Twinning projects, the European Union relies on the co-operation and administrative experience of EU Member States (MS) which mobilise public expertise both from public administrations and semi-public bodies.

Two Project Leaders (one on behalf of the EU Member State leading the project, the other of the beneficiary administration) and a Resident Twinning Adviser (RTA) are the backbone of Twinning projects. The RTA is seconded to the beneficiary administration for a minimum of 12 months up to 36 months throughout the entire duration of the implementation period of the Action and coordinates the project's activities.

Twinning Light

"Twinning Light" is designed to offer a more flexible, mid-term approach (up to six months, in exceptional cases can be extended to eight months) without the presence of an RTA. 

A new Twinning Privacy Statementpdf has been issued that will also be applicable to personal data collected over previous years as there is a change in the retention policy.

[1] Croatia is still a beneficiary country and at the same time a provider of assistance under the Twinning instrument.
[2] *This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.

Twinning Newsletters

Twinning pipeline

Twinning information update

Twinning network

Twinning manual

Resident Twinning Adviser Trainings

Twinning Review missions

Activity reports

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Last update: 29/09/2016