Select Committee on European Communities Minutes of Evidence

Letter from Southampton City Council

  I am not sure whether Southampton City Council's experience of the TACIS City Twinning Programme is directly relevant in the context of your letter of 6 April 1998 which refers specifically to "environmental aspects" of the TACIS programme, as our project was transport related. However collaboration in this field has led to our being invited to join a Life-Third Countries bid which is environment-related and to one of our higher education bodies being involved in a Know-How funded environment programme. I will therefore supply the information requested and leave it to you to decide whether or not to use it.

  Our TACIS programme was highly successful and demonstrates how much can be achieved for a relatively low level of investment. The success of the programme can be attributed to the "city-to-city" nature of the relationship; the support and involvement of elected representatives on both sides and the fact that finances were managed by the EU partner authority. Our project focused on empowering the Russian managers and giving them the information, training and confidence necessary to allow them to decide what measures to take to make their services sustainable over the longer term. The training programme was developed after a pre-project start site visit and discussion of priority needs. It was reviewed and adjusted at the end of an initial six-week period. A further strength was that the Russian Managers were given a "warts and all" exposure to our urban transport programme which allowed them to see the problems we were experiencing as well as our successes. Our programme was realistic in its objectives and sought to provide a sustainable system without any injection of new finances for infrastructure needs.

Sue Mullan

European Service Manager

28 April 1998

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