Vienna, 8 August 2007 - "From the very start, Austria was greatly committed to the idea of twinning and acquired an excellent reputation due to the large number of projects implemented. With a success rate of 50%, Austria ranks first among all EU member states which sought to implement twinning projects last year. Austria's administration has every reason to be proud of this result"‚ said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik as she took stock of 10 years of Austrian participation in EU twinning projects in a government meeting today.
According to Plassnik, Austrian twinning institutions were awarded contracts for handling 197 projects in 21 countries, either alone or as part of consortia formed with other EU member states. "Specially in the fields of justice and home affairs, environmental protection and agriculture, we have significantly contributed to bringing the authorities of our partners closer to European Union standards. Twinning is thus a specific example for the new and diverse forms of foreign policy and for successful and functioning co-operation among Austrian ministries", stated the Foreign Minister.
"By introducing the concept of twinning, the EU has shown that it is a champion in the transformation of societies – not least owing to practice-oriented instruments such as the administrative partnerships. They enable specific and readily applicable support, provided to practitioners by practitioners in a spirit of partnership", said Plassnik, and she went on to say: "Efficient and high-performance administrative authorities are the backbone of all economic development – and this is precisely where the twinning projects bring their leverage to bear."
"The concept is so successful that it is now exported to non-European partner countries too, e.g. in the Mediterranean region or in the Caucasus. It serves the stabilisation and development of a larger neighbourhood and the creation of a secure environment for Austria and Europe," said the Foreign Minister.
As of now, the website of the Foreign Ministry also features a special site on twinning projects where Austrian twinning partners can save time by accessing well-structured and up-to-date information and invitations for expressions of interest.
Link to the Austrian EU Twinning site: Austrian Website for EU-Twinning
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213