Institutional Twinning (IT) is a tool originally introduced by the EU in 1998 to support the candidate countries of Eastern Europe in their accession to the European Union. The main aim was to help these countries adopt and implement EU regulations. To do so, it was necessary to raise the institutional capacities of the government bodies responsible for integrating the acquis communautaire, in a way that would qualify the administrations of the candidate countries to cope with EU requisites, especially with regards to the EU internal market.
Institutional Twinning is different from classical Technical Assistance as it provides peer-to-peer cooperation between two administrations that work together on a partnership basis to achieve specific mandatory results. These results are expected to have a long-term impact that goes beyond the implementation of the project itself.
In this way, Twinning is a mutual learning process where both administrations work together and share experiences. Thus, drafting the Twinning contract and the work plan is a joint Member State/beneficiary country exercise.
Institutional Twinning was introduced to Egypt in 2005 and since then a number of Twinning projects have been launched in diversified areas of strategic importance to Egypt. The main sectors that have benefited from the instrument include: Transport, Environment, Agriculture, Water quality, Occupational health, Consumer protection, Tourism, Postal services, Statistics and others.
In identifying prospects for Twinning projects in Egypt, SAAP reviews the requests submitted by Egyptian public administrations. The selection process ensures that submitted requests are in line with Egypt’s national priorities as well as offering the opportunity for approximation with certain EU legislation ("acquis communautaire"). A technical process is followed to prepare a Twinning project via the drafting of terms of reference followed by a project proposal; the “Twinning Project Fiche”, which is then presented to the 27 European Union Member States. Interested Member States send proposals for implementing the project. The proposals are reviewed and the beneficiary Egyptian administration chooses the most relevant and suitable one.
It is worth mentioning that the process of selecting a proposal from a Member State is a very crucial phase in the preparation of each project. Best practice has revealed that the importance of this phase is derived from the fact that it is about the selection of the most appropriate partner. Upon selecting the Member State that will be the partner, and during the contracting phase, the assigned team of partners spends from three to six months discussing and agreeing on a concrete and feasible action plan for the project implementation. The project then starts operating. At this point, the role of SAAP is to follow up the project implementation and ensure the sustainability of its outcomes.
For additional information on the Institutional Twinning Instrument visit: http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/where/neighbourhood/overview/twinning_en.htm