Twinning between cities and towns
in the UK and a number of European countries began shortly after the end of the
second world war and gained momentum during the 1950s.
As personal and municipal contacts became established, mutual interests developed between workers in the same industries and professions and these prompted group exchange visits and other events organised on an occupational basis.
In 1959, PTT twinning began
between France and Germany and accelerated rapidly with the support of both
governments and administrations as part of their policy of reconciliation which
was sealed by the Adenauer-De Gaulle treaty. This initial Franco-German activity
started to extend to other countries through the influence of increased European
co-operation which resulted in links becoming established with Italy and Great
Britain and in the development of the Jumelages Europeans des PTT (JEPTT)
Since PTT twinning arises through links formed between people in the same area of activity, the Business as PO Telecoms HQ in 1980 both recognised JEPTT and recommended some official support by way of hospitality for an appropriate function and other reasonable facilities in order to supplement the expenses incurred by the local twinning association when entertaining foreign visitors. With the growth of the movement in Great Britain and the separation of the Postal and Telecommunications services, it was decided to form separate national twinning organisations to co-ordinate local activities within each Business but to collaborate at national level in liaison with JEPTT. As a result, the BT European Twinning Federation was created in 1983 and officially recognised later that year by the BT Board which expressed the continuing view that twinning was a valuable activity and that the level of official sponsorship should be maintained in accordance with the 1980 stated recommendations.
The movement continued to develop still further at international level with the formation of the Union Internationale des Jumelages PTT (UIJPTT) in November 1984. The membership currently includes national federations from France, Germany, Great Britain (BT and Post Office), Ireland (Eire), Poland, Portugal and Romania and groups of local associations in Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Russia, Spain and Switzerland.
In view of the Global activities of the Company and the prospect of future twinning links being formed outside Europe,the Federation in April 1997 changed its name to BT International Twinning Federation (BTITF).
The UIJPT held its last Triennial Congress in Zurich in 2007 which was attended by over three hundred Post and Telecom Twinners from the above countries including twenty one representatives from seven BTITF member groups. The next Congress will take place during 2010 in Poland when it is hoped that more countries will have joined the international P & T twinning family of nations.