• 13 November 2023


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    Europe and FIIAPP – 25 years connecting public institutions through the twinning programme

    The European Union's Twinning programme, launched in 1998 to support public policy reforms in EU candidate countries, turns 25

    Family photo during the "Institution Building Days 2023"

    In 1998, the European Union launched the twinning programme to support candidate countries onm their path to EU membership in the institutional reforms needed to bring them closer to European policies and standards. Such has been its success that, after 25 years, more than 2,800 twinning projects have been completed, and the programme has extended its geographical reach globally, including Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Asia-Pacific.

    The programme facilitates the twinning of two counterpart administrations by temporarily assigning one or more civil servants from a European country to work alongside their counterparts in the partner country’s public administration to strengthen their institutions and public policies in fields such as environment, health, justice, transport, digitalisation, forensic research, education, youth, fisheries policy, customs… In other words, it is about connecting public systems to work on specific challenges in the field of public policies.

    In 1999, Spain signed an agreement with the European Commission to join the programme. Thos was the same year when FIIAPP was established as the sole managing entity for such programmes in Spain, in support of the National Contact Point in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Among others, we have improved the blood donation and transplant system in Croatia, strengthened the Ombudsman in Macedonia, improved the Patent Office in Egypt, supported the improvement of rail transport in Ukraine or accompanied the reform of the judicial system in the Dominican Republic.

    Find out all the details about the twinning programme here

    Beyond the specific achievements of each project, this programme allows the EU to project its most distinctive added values in its external action, i.e. its regulatory standards, its public policy models and its founding values, such as the rule of law, social cohesion and democratic governance. Moreover, thanks to this programme, Spanish institutions such as the Ombudsman, the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office or the General Council of the Judiciary have built trust-based relationships with their counterparts in third countries and strengthened their own human capital with new knowledge and perspectives.

    The “Institution Building Days”, organised by the European Commission, took place in Brussels on 17 and 18 October 2023, bringing together the National Contact Points for the Twinning programme. In this framework, Ricardo Sánchez-Blanco, National Contact Point at the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, stressed the importance of Twinning to facilitate the implementation of  new European strategies such as Global Gateway. He also emphasized Spain’s firm commitment to mobilising the expertise of its public administrations, as reflected in the new cooperation law and in FIIAPP. He also highlighted Spain’s sound track record in Twinning programmes, having successfully implemented more than 350 projects in 34 countries and mobilised more than 5,000 civil servants.

    Álvaro Martínez, FIIAPP’s Strategy Area Technician

    The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the sole responsibility of the person who write them.

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