Projects funded by the European Union

IRZ carries out projects on legal and judicial reform, which are tendered by the EU under various funding programmes. These projects are thematically similar to those applied for under federal subsidies. However, the project volumes are usually larger, and funds are allocated by means of calls for proposals. The following financing instruments are of particular relevance to IRZ:

  • IPA II (Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance): for potential EU accession candidate countries, especially states in the Western Balkans
  • ENI (European Neighbourhood Instrument): to promote democracy and human rights in the Eastern Partnership and the Mediterranean regions
  • DCI (Development Cooperation Instrument): of particular relevance with regard to Central Asia

In this context, IRZ proceeds according to the following five basic principles:

  • IRZ exclusively undertakes EU projects in its partner states.
  • IRZ exploits synergies between bilateral activities and EU-funded projects in a partner state.
  • IRZ avoids double consulting.
  • IRZ advises its partner institutions in a spirit of equal partnership.
  • IRZ uses its resources efficiently to achieve the best possible results for its partners.

EU Twinning

The European Union created the Twinning funding instrument in the late 1990s in order to promote partnerships between authorities of the EU Member States and potential EU accession candidates. In this way, the EU has been supporting the development of public structures in line with European values and standards for more than 20 years. As the name Twinning implies, the projects adhere to a partnership approach. Together with employees from the relevant authorities of the EU Member States, the countries are supported and advised in adopting the EU acquis communautaire.

The Resident Twinning Adviser (RTA), a person from public administration in an EU Member State with professional experience in the relevant sector and excellent intercultural competence, manages the project on site, usually for two years, and serves as the primary contact for the authority receiving advice. The RTA is supported and advised by a Project Leader (PL) from the home authority. This function is performed by an official with considerable experience in the relevant legal area. He or she bears overall responsibility for the project.

The RTA(s) and PL(s) work closely with the persons responsible for the respective project components, both in the application phase and during implementation of the projects. Numerous officials from public administrations in EU Member States with specific and relevant knowledge also support the projects as short-term experts.

IRZ has represented the BMJV in the application for and implementation of EU Twinning Projects (“mandated body“) in the judicial field since 1998 and has participated in some 80 projects during this period. In recent years, numerous projects have also been successfully carried out in consortia with new EU Member States such as Croatia and Latvia. Countries that IRZ previously supported in Twinning Projects during their accession to the EU have therefore become partners. Not only do they now contribute regional expertise, they can also draw on similar legal traditions and hence have a special understanding of the countries‘ specific challenges in terms of alignment with EU law. In 2019, IRZ was able to implement a total of seven EU Twinning Projects in Kosovo, Moldova, North Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine. These projects are presented in greater detail in the country reports.


The European Commission uses the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument (TAIEX) for short-term measures which, similar to Twinning Projects, are used for direct communication between authorities. Workshops and study visits to EU Member States, as well as expert missions to the countries concerned, allow public administrators to exchange experiences on specific topics. Requests can be made directly by the individual states that belong to the EU programmes ENI and ENPI. IRZ receives requests concerning the judicial field from the National Contact Point (NCP) for Twinning and TAIEX based in the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. IRZ implements these requests in cooperation with experts from the judicial field and German judicial institutions. In this regard, IRZ was able to organise a visit to Germany by a delegation from the Turkish Ministry of Justice and the participation of a German judge in a workshop in Bosnia and Herzegovina during 2019.

EU Grant

Similar to twinning, the calls for proposals for EU grants, which usually last several years, are directed only at a limited number of applicants, to which IRZ belongs as a “mandated body“ of the BMJV. Usually Grants are entirely financed by the EU with the exception of in-house (human) resources costs, which need to be contributed by the implementing organisation. Thus, the use of a relatively small amount of own resources makes it possible to implement a budget of several million euros. Bilateral activities can be reduced commensurately whenever IRZ implements projects of this kind currently for instance in Albania in the form of the EURALIUS V project (see Albania country report) – which eases the burden on the budget for federal subsidies.

Sometimes grants are also directed at EU states, for example within the framework of a Justice Programme 2014 to 2020, which the EU has set up with a view to improving networks and the exchange of experience between EU states, for example in the implementation of EU directives. For instance, IRZ has carried out similar programmes with Bulgaria and Romania in the past. Overall, increasing numbers of EU calls for proposals are being organised as grants.

EU Technical Assistance

IRZ also remains active in EU Technical Assistance Projects. The relevant calls for proposals are aimed at a much larger group of applicants. This market is therefore highly competitive, with project volumes recently being lower than in the past, mainly due to the tendency of the EU, as outlined above, to tender sector-wide reform projects as grants.

Nevertheless, this area of activity represents an important opportunity for IRZ. As a highly specialised institution with many years of experience in implementing similar profit-oriented projects in the field of judicial reform, IRZ is a much-coveted cooperation partner. The Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries have remained the regional priority of ongoing projects and interesting project tenders in recent times. However, there are growing numbers of calls for proposals for judicial programmes in the countries of North Africa. These projects are being brought into focus more and more due to IRZ‘s now well-established bilateral activities in the region.

The EU-funded projects in which IRZ is currently involved are presented in the country reports.