In the framework of the EU support programmes ENI and IPA, which exist since January 2007, the so-called beneficiary countries obtain support for fundamental economic, social and political transition. Hence it follows that it is essential to assist these countries with institution building, investments in the regulatory infrastructure and the strengthening of economic and social cohesion. These goals can be achieved through the financing of technical assistance as well as the implementation of the twinning projects mentioned above.
Twinning projects consist of a partnership between an authority of an EU member state and an authority of the beneficiary country which is not (yet) member of the EU. Hereby, the implementation of the EU acquis shall be realized by means of concerted and official administrative cooperation.
The Federal Office of Administration (BVA) has been in charge of Twinning projects since December 2004 and is working on behalf of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The BVA is responsible for the application for and implementation of Twinning projects in the field of general administration, relating to administrative organization and modernization as well as to issues of public service, such as corruption prevention, personnel management, data protection and civic participation.
Twinning projects are put out to tender by the beneficiary countries via the EU Commission. Subsequently, the German "National Contact Point" (NCP), which is the central interlocutor for twinning projects, forwards these tenders to the federal ministries responsible for the respective subjects. The Federal Ministry of the Interior, Division O4, which is the responsible authority in the case of the BVA, examines the tenders and authorizes an authority to apply for and implement the project in case of political interest.
In order to apply for a certain twinning project, each state first of all has to prepare a written proposal and submit it to the country offering the project. Afterwards, all countries that have submitted a written proposal are invited to present their proposals. At least the future "major actors" of the project, especially the Project Leader (PL) and the Resident Twinning Adviser (RTA), are expected to attend these meetings. However, it is common practice to use the occasion to introduce the complete core team of the project. Eventually, the tendering country takes the decision on who will be awarded the contract. The European Commission informs the applicants of the selection decision. After the award of the contract, both partner authorities have a time frame of four (in case of IPA) to five (in case of ENI) months to jointly develop a concrete project design which is incorporated into a binding Twinning Contract.
The actual implementation of the project commences after the conclusion of the contract. In this context, the BVA is responsible both for the leadership and the administrative management of the project with all the attendant duties and responsibilities. As project leader, the BVA is the central contact partner in exchange with the EU. It has to make sure in particular that the goals agreed in the Twinning Contract are achieved. Furthermore, the responsibilities of the project leader include the administrative and financial management of the whole project in accordance with a wide set of EU rules.
Further and more detailed information on processes, methods and regulations which have to be adhered to during the implementation of twinning projects can be found in the EU Twinning manual.
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