44A number of authors point to the important role played by national minorities and immigrant communities in establishing formal international relations between local authorities. These communities intend to maintain contact with their main cultural areas or place of origin. The role of these factors was mentioned by J. Zupanié (2001), who described the example of Slovenian minorities in neighbouring countries and national minorities with regard to Slovenia`s neighbouring countries. Similarly, S. Weber (1996) mentioned the collaboration of Portuguese cities with municipalities located in the regions of Paris, Lorraine and the North-West Industrial Region, which include all the major groups of Portuguese immigrants, and Mr. Laurent (1991) cited examples of immigrant participation in the creation of Franco-Polish partnerships. However, in this research, this type of relationship has clearly played a minor role in establishing cooperation at the national level in relation to other reported reasons. 47 In summary, is the main influence on the directions and character of exchanges in the partnership relations between Polish municipalities: are partnership agreements supported by an institution/foundation/program? Recently, some cities have entered into new partnerships with fictitious or virtual locations. Wincanton, England is a partnership with Ankh-Morpork in Terry Pratchett`s discworld books.  S. HANDLEY (Eds.) (2001), The links effect – a good practice guide to transnational partnerships and partnerships for local authorities, International Report 3, Local Government International Bureau, London. The twinning of cities is a form of international cooperation at the local level (MIC).
It allows local communities to share their experiences and innovations in municipal and municipal administration techniques and encourages people to follow the trend to remove political barriers. It generates flows of goods and people in an exchange initiated by local governments and organized with their help. Over the past ten years, international cooperation of local governments in Poland has mainly led to the exchange of information, goods and people with Western Europe and the Scandinavian countries (64% of all connections in 2001), mainly with Germany, France, the Netherlands and Denmark. The main trends in the flow of goods and information have been from advanced countries to Poland. Only human (cultural) exchanges were truly bilateral. If we do not take into account cooperation with neighbouring countries, institutional ties with Eastern, Southern and Central Europe have been very weak. This shows and confirms the dominance of parallel connections in this part of Europe whose strength to the East is diminishing.