EU Twining Programme

Twinning is a European Union instrument (was introduced in 1998) 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.

The main purpose of Twinning is to transfer good governance to EU candidate countries to help them prepare for EU Membership and deepen their cooperation with neighboring countries. Projects can support the administrative and legislative reforms of beneficiary countries and promote economic and social stability.

The programme consists of

  • cooperation between similar government authorities;
  • transfer of EU Member States' reform experience to beneficiary countries;
  • support for infrastructure reforms of public/government institutions, changes in the legal framework

       and development of the capacities of administrative and institutional bodies and of civil servants;

  • results in bringing the public administration system of the beneficiary country closer to EU standards.

The instructions regulating Twinning are found in the Twinning Manual and its annexes drawn up by the Commission.

Full-scale Twinning projects last for about two years, and Twinning light projects, last for six to ten months. The budget of Twinning projects is fixed in advance, and tenders compete on the quality of expertise rather than price. The European Commission funds the projects through a European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument.

Beneficiary countries

Twinning projects are implemented in the EU enlargement countries in the Western Balkans and Turkey (IPA countries) and in the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) countries:

  • Instrument for Pre-accession (IPA): Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.
  • European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI): 
  • ENI East: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
  • ENI South: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Syria and Palestine

Since 2020, the Twinning instrument covers also partner countries and territories covered by the Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA).

The bodies implementing the projects are selected via a call for proposals open to all EU countries. Member States may take part in projects either independently or in cooperation with another Member State. Projects can be implemented by public sector organisations or by other public bodies mandated by the Commission (so called Mandated Bodies). (Each Member State may submit only one proposal).

The European Commission distributes project applications  among EU countries through National Contact Points (NCP). The Lithuanian NCP is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Lithuanian Central Project Management Agency (CPMA) performs administration-financial management of the Twinning projects.

Following the tendering procedure, beneficiary countries select the bodies implementing the projects on the basis of project proposals.

For more details about Twinning please visit EC Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR).

Lithuania is an active participant in the EU Twinning Programme and is one of the leading EU Member States implementing projects under the programme.

Since 2004, Lithuania has implemented 133 EU Twinning projects, either independently or with other EU partners; half of them were implemented in the EU Eastern partnership countries: 17 in Azerbaijan, 13 in Ukraine, 12 in Moldova, 11 in Georgia, 4 in Armenia and 4 in Belarus.

The most experienced LT institutions are involved in Twinning projects in the following areas: food safety,  finance, law, public services, transport, law and order, anti-corruption, customs modernisation, money laundering, etc.

In 2022, Lithuania was awarded 8 Twinning projects with a total value of 12 million Euro. For the last five years, Lithuania has been ranked among the top five in the European Union (EU) for the number of contracted and implemented Twinning projects.

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