How does it work?
IPA planning and programming
Planning and programming of assistance to candidate countries and potential candidates is organised as follows:
- Indicative Strategy Papers
The Strategy Papers are the overarching strategic planning documents that set the priorities and objectives for the 7-year period. They replace the Multi-annual Indicative and Planning Documents (MIPDs) used until 2013.
The indicative Country Strategy Papers provide the frame for financial assistance foreach individual IPA II beneficiary. They identify key sectors where substantial improvements and reforms are necessary for beneficiaries to advance on the path to EU membership. For each of these, the Strategy Paper also defines the results expected to be achieved by 2020 through the assistance, the actions that are necessary to reach them, as well as identifies indicators that will allow monitoring of progress towards achievement of those results.
Similarly, an indicative Multi-Country Strategy Paper highlights priorities and conditions for horizontal support to sector policies and reforms (including assistance to civil society), regional structures and networks, regional investment support, as well as territorial cooperation including cross-border cooperation programmes.
- IPA II Programmes
The priorities outlined in the Strategy Papers are translated into detailed actions, which are included in annual or multi-annual Action Programmes. IPA II Action Programmes take the form of Financing Decisions adopted by the European Commission.
The bulk of the assistance is channelled through the Country Action Programmes for IPA II Beneficiaries, which are the main vehicles for addressing country-specific needs in priority sectors as identified in the indicative Strategy Papers.
Multi-Country Action Programmes aim at enhancing regional cooperation (in particular in the Western Balkans) and at adding value to the Country Action Programmes through other multi-beneficiary actions.
Cross-Border CooperationProgrammes represent the focus of assistance in the area of territorial cooperation between IPA II beneficiaries, another important form of financial assistance.
Assistance for agriculture and rural development is also addressed via Rural Development Programmes.
IPA II funded activities are implemented and managed in various ways, in accordance with the Financial Regulation:
- Under direct management; i.e. the implementation of the budget is carried out directly by the Commission until the relevant national authorities are accredited to manage the funds.
- Under indirect management; i.e. budget implementation tasks are delegated to and carried out by entities entrusted by the Commission; they can be:
- the IPA II beneficiary or an entity designated by it (one of the main objectives of IPA II is to encourage beneficiaries to take ownership and responsibility for implementation; indirect management by the IPAII beneficiary is therefore expected to become the norm);
- an agency of a Member State or, exceptionally, of a third donor country;
- an international organisation; or
- an EU specialised (but not executive) agency.
In other words, the Commission delegates the management of certain actions to external entities, while still retaining overall final responsibility for the general budget execution.
- Shared management; i.e. implementation tasks are delegated to EU member states (only for cross–border cooperation programmes with EU countries).
In the context of direct management, Sector Budget Support is yet another tool for delivering pre-accession assistance and achieving sustainable results under IPA II. It consists of financial transfers to the national treasury account of an IPA II beneficiary and requires performance assessment and capacity development, based on partnership and mutual accountability. It is delivered through Sector Reform Contracts.
Monitoring and evaluation of assistance
Implementation of IPA II will include a comprehensive monitoring mechanism. It will contain a review of overall performance of the progress in achieving resultsat the strategic, sector and action levels (i.e. results-based performance), in addition to monitoring of financial execution. Performance measurement will be based on indicators set out in the indicative Strategy Papers and the Programmes.
Joint monitoring committees (Commission and beneficiaries) will continue to monitor the implementation of financial assistance programmes, as was the case for the previous period of IPA.
The Commission publishes an annual report on pre-accession assistance. This report covers the previous budget year (i.e. the 2013 report covers 2012 and so on).