Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments


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Town twinning

Town twinning - 05.02.2004

Town twinning back on track after General Affairs Council decision
Twinning actions will be funded this year this year. The Council adopted a decision establishing a Community action programme aimed at granting financial support to bodies working in the field of active European citizenship and at promoting civic participation.
Town twinning falls in that category since its objectives are to bring EU citizens closer to the EU institutions and to intensify the links between citizens of different countries.
In other words, with this Council's decision, the town-twinning programme has now a legal basis that allows the Commission to fund twinning actions throughout Europe.
CEMR Secretary General Jeremy Smith has welcomed the decision : 'This is extremely good news. One must know that there are over 30,000 twinning links across Europe. It is one of the best ways to make the EU live at grass-root level. It also helps municipalities in various ways since town twinning can focus on educational, economic, environmental and other issues".
Last year, the Commission proposed that the future legal basis of twinning funding be article 308 of the EU Treaty. But article 308 requires unanimous agreement from the Council members. All twinning projects were thus put on hold since the beginning of the year, pending a decision by the Council. Such decision was adopted on 26 January 2004.
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