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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)

25 Years of Moving Forward Together with EU Expertise


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.


  • Türkiye, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo*[1];
  • Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Palestine*[2], Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine;
  • Partner countries and territories covered by the Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA).


In the Western Balkans and Türkiye, 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 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.

Since 2020, the Twinning instrument covers also partner countries and territories covered by DG INTPA. In this context, Twinning supports the implementation of national development strategies in line with EU standards, contributing to the achievement of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals. Twinning INTPA complements the existent EC development toolbox, working in synergy with other technical cooperation modalities available in a partner country.

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 structured 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 relies on ‘learning by doing’ 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 from 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 eight months, in exceptional cases can be extended to ten months) without the presence of an RTA. 

A new Twinning Privacy Statement 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] *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.

[2] *This designation 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.

Key documents

  • General publications
  • Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations