Vienna, 16 December 2010 Press release

Austrian twinning projects on the road to success

Vienna, 16 December 2010 - When the Austrian Environmental Agency supports the Georgian Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources in improving its waste management system or provides assistance to the Ukraine to be more  effective and aligned with the best European practices in environmental protection, these are two examples of EU twinning projects.

Launched in 1998, the Twinning programme is an EU funded initiative that aims to support acceding and potential candidate countries in the development of modern and efficient public administrations .The objective is to assist those countries in upgrading their institutions to European standards. The cumulated experience became an asset when twinning projects were extended to the European neighbourhood countries in the framework of an active European Neighbourhood Policy.

Over the past twelve years, Austria has provided expertise in over 300 twinning projects, an extremely high number for a relatively small country. In the acceding and potential candidate countries, only Germany participates in more projects, while Austria takes fourth place in the partner countries in the European Neighbourhood.

Twinning projects target different sectors: environment, justice and home affairs, finance etc. Geographically, most of the twinning projects have been implemented on the Western Balkans where Austria has been very successful in providing assistance in introducing institutional reforms in line with EU standards. A new and additional focus is the Black Sea region, a region with a great future potential and of particular interest for Austria due  to the close cultural, historical and economic ties.. In Turkey, for instance, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights in cooperation with the Austrian  Federal Security Academy closely collaborates with the Turkish police to develop further training programmes.

Twinning not only contributes to the enlargement process and closer bilateral cooperation on an institutional level, but also to a better business and investment climate for Austrian companies which could benefit from modern administrative structures and the rule of law.

Federal Ministry for
European and International Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550, 3739
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213