How does it work?
IPA planning and programming
IPA funding to candidate and potential candidate countries is planned in the following stages:
- Multi-annual Indicative Financial Framework (MIFF)
This document allocates IPA funds by country and by components, based on objective and transparent criteria, including needs assessment. The MIFF is reviewed every year and published each autumn together with the progress reports and the enlargement strategy, which sets out the overall strategic framework for the pre-accession process, including the IPA. The MIFF is the link between the strategic political framework and the budgetary process. The table here shows a summary of allocation of funds by country in €million.
Multi-annual Indicative Financial Framework (MIFF)
- Multi-annual Indicative Planning Documents (MIPDs)
Based on the MIFF allocations (and on the priorities identified within the strategic political framework and set out in the European Partnerships and Accession Partnerships for each country), the Commission, working closely with the beneficiary countries, establishes multi-annual indicative planning documents (MIPD) for each country and for the multi-beneficiary actions. Following a careful assessment of the country(ies) specific needs and challenges, the MIPDs indicate the major areas of intervention, highlighting a limited number of priorities which will receive IPA funding. The MIPDs are established for a three-year rolling period, with annual reviews.
National authorities are very closely involved in the preparation of the MIPDs in order to ensure full "ownership" of the process. Civil society representatives are consulted during the preparation of the MIPDs. EU countries and other bilateral and multilateral donors are also consulted to ensure coordination, coherence and complementarity between the respective assistance programmes.
- Detailed annual/multi-annual programmes
The priorities outlined in the MIPDs are translated into detailed measures, operations and projects. These are all then included in programmes, which can be annual or multi-annual.
Annual / multi-annual programmes are financing decisions adopted by the European Commission specifying fields of intervention, objectives pursued, expected results, management procedures, and the total amount of financing planned.
Annual / multi-annual programmes are financing decisions adopted by the European Commission specifying:
- fields of intervention
- objectives pursued
- expected results
- management procedures
- total amount of financing planned.
Programmes come under 5 different subject headings ("components"), and are managed by the following Commission departments:
- Component I – Transition assistance & institution building – DG Enlargement.
- Component II – Cross-border cooperation – DG Enlargement (for programmes between beneficiary countries) and DG for Regional and Urban Policy (programmes with EU countries).
- Component III – Regional development – DG for Regional and Urban Policy.
- Component IV – Human resources development – DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion
- Component V – Rural development – DG Agriculture and Rural Development.
IPA–funded tasks are implemented and managed in various ways:
- Centralised – the Commission manages components like Transition assistance & institution building, and Cross-border cooperation – until the relevant national authorities are accredited to manage the funds.
Decentralised – the beneficiary countries manage components like Regional development, Human resourcesdevelopment and Rural development, once the Commission has confirmed they are able to implement assistance in accordance with the Financial Regulation and are meeting the required conditions. In other words the Commission delegates the management of certain measures to the beneficiary country, while still retaining overall final responsibility for the general budget execution.
One of the main objectives of IPA is to transfer know-how and experience to beneficiary countries, by encouraging them to take ownership and responsibility for implementation. Decentralised management is therefore expected to become the norm. For this to be achieved, individual recipient countries should:
- have specific strategies, action plans and timetables in place for moving towards decentralised management
- prepare their national authorities to take on the increased responsibilities.
- Shared management - Implementation tasks are delegated to EU member states in accordance with the Financial Regulation (only for cross–border cooperation programmes with EU countries).
- Joint management - Implementation tasks of, for example, some multi-beneficiary actions, are delegated to an international organisation such as the United Nations or the World Bank.
Monitoring and evaluation of assistance
The European Commission supervises the implementation of pre–accession programmes through its departments (DG Enlargement; DG Regional and Urban Policy; DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion; DG Agriculture and Rural Development) and through the EU Delegations in the beneficiary countries.
Joint monitoring committees (Commission and beneficiary countries) monitor the implementation of financial assistance programmes. Monitoring and evaluation reports are produced and corrective actions agreed upon when necessary. Further monitoring takes place at sector and project level.
DG Enlargement carries out evaluations of financial assistance which provide inputs for improving the quality, effectiveness and consistency of how EU funds are used and how programmes are implemented. The findings, results and recommendations of the evaluations are translated into better project design and implementation, and also resource allocation.
The Commission publishes an annual report on pre-accession assistance for the European Parliament, the EU Council and the European Economic and Social Committee. The report covers the previous budget year (i.e. the 2012 report covers 2011 and so on).