Twinning: grants for introduction of EU rules

EU countries can help new member states and neighbouring countries introduce European rules. This is done through twinning projects.

What is twinning?

Twinning means exchange of knowledge between countries, funded by the European Union. An expert from a government or non-profit organisation in an EU country works for one or two years at a sister organisation in another country. The posting is paid for by the European Commission.

The expert helps the organisation introduce EU rules on such topics as protection of minorities, asylum policy, air pollution, justice or the market economy.

Who can apply for twinning grants?

Government, semi-government and non-profit organisations from the following countries can apply to an EU country for a twinning grant:

  • Candidate and potential candidate countries

Twinning projects in candidate and potential candidate countries are intended to make enlargement of the EU proceed more smoothly by adapting national legislation to European legislation. The countries concerned include Turkey, Albania and Montenegro.

  • Neighbouring countries

Through twinning projects in non-EU countries (such as Syria, Libya and Belarus) the EU invests in the security and stability of neighbouring countries. Twinning with the EU's eastern and southern neighbours facilitates cooperation. The European Commission funds the projects through a European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument.

  • New EU member states

The transition facility gives new EU member states additional financial and other support in implementing EU legislation.

National Contact Points

The European Commission distributes project applications among EU countries through National Contact Points (NCPs). The Dutch NCP is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Twinning applications can be emailed to

Examples of Dutch twinning projects

The Netherlands is one of the five EU countries involved in the most twinning projects, including:

  • a project to help the Bulgarian government introduce EU legislation on asylum seekers;
  • a project to help the Bulgarian government draw up food safety regulations;
  • sharing knowledge with Slovenia and Lithuania on the introduction of the euro;
  • a project to help the Romanian government introduce a milk quota system;
  • a project to reform the justice system in Moldova.