Dear Friends of TAIEX and Twinning,
The last two years have been a period of intense innovation and transition for the European Commission’s institution building instruments. Re-imagining peer-to-peer exchanges in a digital format in 2020 was a milestone for our community and allowed TAIEX and Twinning to continue bringing added value despite the pandemic. In 2021, we demonstrated that the combination of virtual, hybrid and in-person activities enables us to support our partners better, increase our reach, deliver faster and with even more flexibility.
Just as our work on combatting COVID-19 and supporting the recovery progressed, TAIEX and Twinning also assisted in the implementation of the Economic and Investment Plans in the enlargement and neighbourhood regions. In the Western Balkans, the instruments are contributing with peer exchanges and best practices to complement EU funding of up to €9 billion in flagship areas such as transport, energy, green and digital transition. TAIEX and Twinning support our partner country administrations as they update transport strategies, improve waste management and digitalise procedures.
The numbers speak for themselves. Last year, we organised 38% more TAIEX events than in 2020. We contributed to building mutual trust and promoting our values both in the EU and globally. Our role was recognised in the Council Conclusions in November 2021, which pointed at TAIEX and Twinning as key instruments of public technical assistance in the EU's external action.
TAIEX and Twinning are now fully global, thanks to our cooperation with DG INTPA and the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments. TAIEX is also expanding to local authorities in the Western Balkans, where our goal is to support good governance from the ground up. We will continue broadening the offer of EU expertise to include emerging policy areas such as addressing disinformation and cyber security.
The war in Ukraine is causing economic shock and amplifying security threats well beyond Europe. We are actively supporting Ukraine, and we work to ensure our institution building tools can assist all partners as they face the impact of this situation. We are already preparing to underpin Ukraine’s green and digital reconstruction, as well as supporting resilience in neighbouring countries.
With the EU candidate status for Moldova and Ukraine, Georgia’s European perspective, and the start of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, the EU enlargement process is gaining momentum. I very much look forward to working together with our partners through TAIEX & Twinning to bring about positive reforms and to lay the groundwork for EU accession.
European Commissioner for Neighbourhood & Enlargement
Part 1 - Institution building instruments: TAIEX & Twinning
TAIEX and Twinning in brief
- TAIEX – Technical Assistance and Information Exchange – offers peer-to-peer technical assistance and policy support from public experts in EU Member States to beneficiaries across the world, including support to EU Member States in structural reforms and improving regional and environmental policies.
- The instrument targets primarily public administrations, but also judiciary and law enforcement authorities, parliamentary administrations, representatives of social partners, trade unions and employers’ associations.
- TAIEX activities can trigger further cooperation with the EU or they can complement an existing activity by adding a peer learning dimension.
- TAIEX assistance can be requested either by beneficiaries (classic) or EU services (strategic).
- TAIEX activities are short in duration (1-5 days).
- Twinning is a policy-driven instrument supporting institutional cooperation between public administrations in EU Member States and partner countries.
- It brings together public sector expertise in order to achieve concrete and operational results through peer-to-peer exchanges.
- Twinning relies on a network of stakeholders in EU Member States, partner countries and EU Delegations.
- The instrument is funded as a grant from the EU budget and jointly implemented by Member States and administrations in partner countries.
- Medium to long term projects (up to 3 years).
TAIEX & Twinning reach in 2021
Click on the highlighted countries on the interactive map to discover TAIEX events in these countries as well as Twinning projects
TAIEX-REGIO supports the implementation of regional and urban policy in EU countries. It provides expertise to public bodies responsible for managing and implementing the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund. In 2021, TAIEX-REGIO supported Member States through activities in areas such as efficient implementation of EU-funded transport projects in Poland and decreasing the burden and administrative costs of managing EU funds in France.
TAIEX-Technical Support Instrument (TSI) helps EU Member States in the design and implementation of institutional, administrative and growth enhancing reforms to build more effective institutions, stronger governance frameworks and efficient public administrations. In 2021, TAIEX-TSI activities were implemented in areas such as boosting voluntary tax compliance in Belgium and upgrading the infrastructure for detecting money laundering in Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and the Slovak Republic.
TAIEX-Partnership Instrument (PI) supports the alignment of countries worldwide with the EU standards, norms and regulatory frameworks. It allows the EU to establish wider political dialogues, strengthen ongoing partnerships, promote EU’s visibility and reinforce the profile of the EU as a key global actor and a trusted partner. In 2021, activities were funded by TAIEX-PI in the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean supporting the EU and partner countries’ mutual interests and alignment with the international standards across number of areas like circular economy, human rights, employment policies and trade.
Since 2019, TAIEX and Twinning INTPA (International Partnerships) have been supporting the public administrations in partner countries in strengthening their national development policies and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Both instruments have supported the needs of countries in Africa, Americas, Asia and the Caribbean in wide ranging policy areas, such as e-governance, anti-corruption, sustainable finance and food safety. TAIEX and Twinning INTPA strengthen the capacities of beneficiary institutions, underpinning their ownership over their national legal and institutional processes and reforms. The focus on peer-to-peer exchanges in the public sector has the potential to create trust and build long-term institutional partnerships with the EU.
TAIEX-Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) facilitates peer-to-peer learning between Member State environmental authorities in order to address challenges in the implementation of EU environmental policy and legislation. For example, to support Member States’ efforts to mitigate ammonia emission, a multi-country TAIEX-EIR workshop on ammonia reducing technology and measures with international and Danish experts took place in November 2021.
Since 2006, TAIEX has been mobilised to help the Turkish Cypriot community prepare for reunification. TAIEX helped organise nearly 3800 events and draft more than 240 legal texts, bringing the community closer to EU standards.
On 19 November 2021, the Council of the EU adopted conclusions on European Public Sector Expertise in the EU's External Action. The Council highlighted the important role of TAIEX and Twinning and emphasized that European public sector expertise creates mutual trust between institutions, and helps promote European values, including good governance, rule of law, and democracy.
Public sector expertise is an area where the EU has a distinctive added-value, rooted in strong European public policy models. […] Mobilisation of European public sector expertise has proved to be a demand-driven, tailored, flexible, efficient and a cost effective way to build capacity in the public sector and promote public policy reform processes in partner countries, based on their needs, priorities and inclusive ownership.
- Council conclusions on European Public Sector Expertise in the EU's External Action
The Council also emphasized the importance of inclusiveness for ensuring that all interested Member States are involved in the planning and implementation of public sector expertise interventions.
In 2021, TAIEX mobilised public experts from all 27 EU Member States. This achievement would not have been possible without the network of TAIEX & Twinning National Contact Points in Member States’ public administrations. Thank you!
In July 2021, the TAIEX team organised an expert mission to support Moldovan officials in improving their capacity to communicate and negotiate in crises. In August, TAIEX promoted EU standards in the field of critical infrastructure protection in Serbia.
In September 2021, the 21st TAIEX International Prosecutors’ Forum brought together prosecutors general and senior prosecutors from the enlargement and neighbourhood regions and EU Member States to share their experience in tackling transnational organised crime and emerging cross-border threats. This multi-country forum gathered 92 participants and focused on investigations related to cybercrime, terrorism and environmental crime.
In 2020-2022, two Twinning projects on hybrid threats are ongoing. The first one supports Armenia in reducing various disaster risks to human lives, the economy and communities. The second project strengthens security of networks and information systems in Georgia.
In December 2021, TAIEX worked with Ukraine to boost cooperation with EU Member States in the field of migration, including document security and the protection of refugees’ rights.
After a quarter of a century of expansion, the EU public sector expertise is in higher demand than ever before. This was the key message from the TAIEX & Twinning Institution Building Days on 16-18 November 2021.
The event brought together TAIEX and Twinning beneficiaries from across the world as well as EU experts and representatives from all Member States to exchange ideas for instruments‘ development and align strategies across the institution building network.
Designed for the first time in a hybrid format, the 2021 IBDs were not only the largest gathering of its kind ever organised, but also the most diverse with over 300 registered participants and more than 500 viewers following the live stream from some 50 countries.
Watch the conference highlights here:
Day 3 - Future of Institution Building
Part 2 - Spotlight on: TAIEX
TAIEX numbers in 2021
- 509 events
- Experts from the EU were mobilised 2265 times through TAIEX
- 14 307 participants
- 95% of participants rated TAIEX experts as excellent or good
The pandemic-driven innovation in TAIEX has created new opportunities for sharing EU expertise.
As events had to be carried out through cameras and microphones, in 2021 TAIEX started editing and publishing webinars on topics that will remain important in the years to come.
To ensure good use of taxpayer money, TAIEX underwent an external evaluation in 2021. What are the findings?
In 2015-2020, TAIEX has been an effective tool for short-term individual and institutional capacity building supporting the exchange of best practice between EU Member States and partner countries. TAIEX has served as a simple and speedy tool for capacity development and has successfully expanded from the European neighbourhood to a global instrument.
For example, 86% of beneficiaries and 89% of experts agreed that TAIEX events strengthened their professional network with public officials from other countries.
Although primarily intended as an instrument for strengthening the capacities of beneficiaries, TAIEX has also strengthened the knowledge and skills of public officials participating as experts. 95% of experts agreed that the events had contributed to their personal and professional development and that they learned a lot from the beneficiaries.
The share of female experts mobilised by TAIEX rose from 34% in 2016 to 44% in 2020.
The approval process of events has remained quick over the 2015-2020 period, overall 65% of requests were approved within two weeks and over 90% within a month. On average, 65% of TAIEX events were organised within 6 months and 85% within a year.
Over 90% of respondents perceived the administrative burden of TAIEX as low in comparison to the results reached.
2021 marked 25 years since the launch of the TAIEX instrument.
To celebrate this anniversary, we prepared a series of animations, videos and infographics showcasing the positive impact of our cooperation.
Visit ec.europa.eu/taiex25 to see TAIEX in action.
I would recommend TAIEX events primarily to public servants that are preparing legislation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is very important from the beginning to know how to align our legislation in a proper way.
Adis Palo, Directorate for European Integration, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The key benefit of the TAIEX instrument is its effectiveness thanks to flexibility, mobility and ability to implement quickly. TAIEX events contribute to implementation of best European practices in the activities of public authorities and local governments.
Nataliia Aliushyna, National Agency for Civil Service, Ukraine
We started a new department dealing with genetically modified food. We had to build it based on what we learned from the TAIEX events. […] Of course I would recommend it to all the contacts I have all over the network because being in the training courses and events like this will let you know the people in your field.
Ruba Goussous, Food and Drug Administration, Jordan
We really appreciate the way this training was organized. The first training really looked, broadly, at the regulatory issues. Then we looked, specifically, at sampling which was also key. It helps us define our current technical capacity.
Geoffrey Onen, Directorate of Government Analytical Laboratory, Uganda
Normally, if you just read a book or a manual, it's a completely different experience from actually talking to people, engaging with people and transferring the experience to actually make it work somewhere else. This is something that I cannot imagine without activities such as TAIEX.
Jan Hauser, EIT Urban Mobility, Czech Republic
In 2018, upon the call of the Committee of the Regions, the Commission launched a pilot TAIEX scheme to support local authorities in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia. Experts from EU Member States assisted municipalities in areas such as strategic planning, public procurement and capacity building.
Following the clear positive outcomes of these 27 events, we are doubling our engagement. TAIEX is organising around 60 additional technical assistance activities, benefitting local authorities in all Western Balkan countries, by the end of 2023. In 2021, EU Delegations prepared activity plans and the first event, on fighting marine plastic pollution, was delivered in April 2022 in Budva, Montenegro.
TAIEX assistance is open to:
- Civil servants working in central public administrations;
- Judiciary and law enforcement authorities;
- Parliaments and legislative councils;
- Representatives of social partners, trade unions and employers’ associations.
TAIEX mandate does not include providing direct support to civil society, private citizens or to individual companies.
We analyse incoming requests on a rolling basis. To apply for TAIEX, go to ec.europa.eu/taiex/application
For support with filling in the application form, please read this guide or contact us at NEAR-TAIEX@ec.europa.eu
Most TAIEX events have publicly available agendas and presentations. Beneficiaries can draw inspiration from similar projects implemented elsewhere when requesting TAIEX assistance.
All TAIEX events are adapted to the audience – however using the agenda of an implemented event as a starting point allows for faster organisation.
Visit ec.europa.eu/taiex/search to view TAIEX events and materials.
Would you like to become a TAIEX expert?
Public officials of EU Member States with expertise relevant to TAIEX beneficiaries can register as TAIEX experts or institutional contact points.
TAIEX experts can participate as speakers in seminars, workshops, expert missions – or host study visits matching their specific profile.
To register, visit ec.europa.eu/taiex/experts
For more information, interested public officials can consult the Frequently Asked Questions.
Part 3 - Spotlight on: Twinning
Twinning activities in 2021
Twinning is a medium- to long-term institution building instrument widely used for cooperation between EU Member States and partner countries.
In 2021, 22 out of 27 Member States were involved in Twinning projects either as a lead Member State or as a junior partner.
68% of Twinning projects are implemented by more than one Member State. Italy, Lithuania, France and Austria were the most active Member States in the instrument.
Twinning is available for countries and territories covered by the EU's neighbourhood and enlargement policies (NEAR) as well as the international partnership and development policy (INTPA). To request a Twinning project, please contact the EU delegation in your country.
- Once a partner country and the Commission decide that Twinning is the appropriate instrument to support reform within the public administration, a Twinning fiche is prepared and a call for proposals is launched to all EU countries.
- After receiving the proposals, a selection committee awards the project either to a single Member State or a consortium. This committee also includes representatives from the partner country.
- Two project leaders, a Resident Twinning Adviser (RTA) and an RTA counterpart in the partner administration are responsible for the implementation. The RTA is seconded to the partner institution for the full duration of the project.
- Evaluation. All Twinning projects are reviewed 6-12 months after their implementation
- Define clear objectives and concrete results the project should achieve
- Make sure that the project is accompanying the reforms that are mature and part of the EU-partner country joint policy agenda
- Ensure that there is political consensus on the reforms and the management buy-in at the beneficiary institution
- Check that there is a clear advantage of using public sector expertise
- The beneficiary institution needs to be sufficiently staffed in order to deliver on its mission and on the objectives of the project
- The mandatory results need to be realistic, attainable within the project duration and budget, and accompanied with well-defined indicators of achievement
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||7|
114 Twinning projects were ongoing in 2021.
Neighbourhood East was the region with the most ongoing projects, followed by the Western Balkans and Turkey.
For the first time, Twinning was launched beyond the neighbourhood and enlargement regions. In cooperation with DG INTPA, 2 projects started in Zambia and 1 in Kyrgyzstan.
* Following the Council conclusions on Belarus (11660/20), the EU has recalibrated its assistance to the maximum extent away from supporting the central authorities. As a consequence, all Twinning projects have been suspended until conditions allow them to restart.
** This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
*** The designation of Palestine shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.
19 Member States contributed to 36 Twinning activities in the region as either lead or junior partners. Croatia, Austria, Italy and Germany participated in most projects, followed by Slovakia, Poland and Slovenia.
In 2021, Neighbourhood East overtook the Western Balkans and Turkey as the region with most ongoing Twinning projects. Lithuania was clearly in the lead as it was involved in 18 projects in the Eastern Partnership, followed by Poland and Germany. 19 Member States contributed to 42 projects.
France concentrates most of its twinning activities in the South, with participation in 15 projects, followed by Italy and Spain. In total, 11 Member States contributed to 33 projects in this part of the world.
Finland is at the forefront of Twinning activities beyond the neighbourhood and enlargement regions – it was a partner on all three projects launched in 2021.
Extending the use of Twinning beyond the enlargement and neighbourhood regions continued in 2021. Three projects started with implementation – two in Zambia, on anti-corruption and audit, and one in Kyrgyzstan, on the digitalisation agenda.
Twinning INTPA pipeline of projects is in constant development and more countries in the world will join the Twinning community from 2022.
Part 4 – The future of TAIEX & Twinning
Combining online, in-person and hybrid meetings made TAIEX and Twinning assistance even more flexible and accessible, but also more resilient to future disruptions. With public administrations everywhere looking for solutions to persistent health, security and environmental challenges, TAIEX and Twinning are uniquely suited to respond to this demand in Europe as well as globally.
As we look towards the future knowing that public sector expertise will continue to grow in importance, TAIEX and Twinning teams would like to hear from you about how to improve the instruments. We remain open to your feedback at NEAR-INSTITUTION-BUILDING@ec.europa.eu.