The EU Twinning project 'Support to the improvement of legal and technical aspects of food quality and safety assurance and certification requirements of Azerbaijani products' recently got off the ground in the central Asian state of Azerbaijan. Twinning targets strengthening support for institution building and helping beneficiary countries in the development modern and efficient administrations. The project is supported by the EU with EUR 1 million in funding. Experts say that by helping beneficiary countries develop human resources and management skills, as well as structures, these countries will be able to implement the acquis communautaire (total body of EU law accumulated thus far). The beneficiary countries, according to Twinning, also have the opportunity to collaborate with their counterparts in the Member States, particularly for the development and launching of a project spotlighting the transposition, enforcement and implementation of a specific part of the acquis communautaire. This two-year project in Azerbaijan will be headed by a Dutch-Latvian consortium, Azerbaijani Deputy Minister of Economic Development Niyazi Safarov explained. The project is split into four components: Component 1 will tackle awareness raising and institutional capacity building for the regulation of aquaculture and fishery products. Component 2 will focus on the harmonisation of the state food legislation with that of the EU, while component 3 will underline the reinforcement of laboratory services. Component 4 will deal with how inspection and testing services can be intensified. Its main objective is to support the economic development of the central Asian state by advancing the quality and safety of fishery products, fuelling consumer protection and strengthening the competitiveness of the domestic fishery sector worldwide. 'The improvement of quality and safety of fishery products will help enhance consumer protection and thus increase the competitiveness of the Azerbaijani fishery sector on international markets,' Mr Safarov explained. Alan Waddams, EU special envoy in Azerbaijan, said he believes the project will be fruitful, and that by fuelling the competitiveness of domestic products and being instrumental in export activity, particularly for the European markets, the Twinning project in Azerbaijan will see concrete results. The Twinning project spotlights the delivery of specific and guaranteed results. Key actors determine and draft a work programme ahead of time so as to meet an objective concerning priority areas of the EU acquis, as they are stipulated in the 'Accession Partnerships'. More than 1,100 Twinning projects have supported beneficiary countries in the past 10 years.