Third-party-funded projects of the European Union: Twinning, Action Grants, Technical Assistance, Grants


Since 1994, the IRZ has not only supported its partner states with funding from the Federal Government, but has also successfully taken part in tendering procedures for EU programmes and other third-party-funded projects. In addition to bilateral work, the IRZ thus also undertakes large-scale projects in the partner states spanning several years, for which tenders are invited by the EU. These projects are in constant interaction with the bilateral work. They prepare for or follow up from it and supplement each other on a reciprocal basis.

The IRZ works in the areas IPA, ENPI and DCI. The IPA (Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance) introduces accession candidate countries and potential accession candidate countries to the EU. The IPA aims to improve institutional capacities in the beneficiary countries. It supports the stabilisation and association process of the candidate countries and potential accession countries.

However, the “European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument” is also important for the IRZ’s work, and is used, for example, for cooperation with the Russian Federation and with North African states. ENPI funds are used to promote cross-border cooperation and approximation to the policies and standards of the EU.

DCI stands for „Development Cooperation Instrument” and encompasses cooperation with South Africa and 47 other developing countries in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East.

Within these programme series, there are four types of projects which are important to the IRZ: EU Twinning, EU Grants, EU Action Grants and EU Technical Assistance Projects.

EU Twinning

Twinning, which was established in 1998, is one of the EU’s promotional instruments to move accession candidates and countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy closer to the “acquis communautaire“. The aim is to support the establishment of a modern, efficient administration and the associated structural and legal reforms in various spheres. In this context, Twinning takes a partnership-based approach. Participants from the EU Member State and the partner state work together to improve structures and contents in the relevant legal area. In order to achieve this, a long-term advisor (Resident Twinning Advisor = RTA) is seconded to the beneficiary administration, who lives in the partner state throughout the entire duration of the implementation period and works in the partner administration. Twinning projects, which usually span a period of eighteen months to two years, hence provide an opportunity to promote a specific area of the justice system over a prolonged period. The RTAs organise the various project activities locally in cooperation with the partners. They are also responsible for the deployment of numerous short-term experts. EU Twinning projects are intended to enable an exchange of experience which constitutes enrichment for both sides. In seminars, workshops, training sessions and on study visits, experts from the beneficiary and sending countries work out and discuss the best way to proceed in various legal fields.

The IRZ is mandated in Germany for all Twinning projects in the judicial field. As a so-called “mandated body”, it prepares project applications and implements the projects for the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV).

Since 1998, the IRZ has implemented more than 75 Twinning projects, making it a major Twinning partner in Europe. Twinning projects also constitute an important pillar of project work within the IRZ. In 2016, the IRZ implemented seven Twinning projects in three countries: Kosovo, Croatia and Tunisia. The geographical focus was on Kosovo, with four Twinning projects. The project topics mainly focused on the area of the prison and the probation service. The projects are explained below one by one.

EU Grants

The second type of project comprises so-called EU Grants, which are also only open to a selected group of applicants. This type of project differs from the EU Twinning projects in the sense that, firstly, several long-term advisors operate in the respective partner state, and, secondly, there is greater latitude in implementing projects. In addition, it is characteristic for EU Grants as opposed to EU Action Grants that the project costs are almost completely financed; only internal personnel costs are excluded from the financing.

EU Action Grants

The EU Action Grants constitute a special type of Grant, in which the partners organise events together on a particular subject. These are often training sessions on new EU legal acts. The concept of networking forms the main focus here. No long-term advisors on the ground are involved, but the activities instead take place alternately in the participating states. All partners undertake to make a financial contribution of their own.

EU Technical Assistance Projects

Finally, EU Technical Assistance Projects, which are openly tendered, constitute the last project type. These projects are open to a non-restric-ted group of tenderers, including private consulting companies, and also offer the opportunity to make a profit. The IRZ only participates in applications which are in conformity with the purpose of the association and follow on from existing consulting activities.

Depending on their size, EU Technical Assistance Projects are managed locally by at least one long-term advisor. The IRZ provides German and international expertise over the term of the project, which can take from several months to several years. The local project office cooperates with the partners on the various work packages. Such cooperation can involve specialist discussions, consultation on legislation, consultation on institutional reforms, seminars, workshops, training courses and study trips.

Through these projects, the IRZ either supplements existing consulting activities in the respective partner state or ensures the sustainability of the results by continuing to support the project partners even after the end of an EU project. Since 1994, the IRZ has successfully applied for and implemented more than 50 EU Technical Assistance Projects.


Mitarbeiter der IRZ führen EU Twinning- und EU Action Grants-Projekte in Bonn