Overview - Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance
The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) is the means by which the EU supports reforms in the 'enlargement countries' with financial and technical help. The IPA funds build up the capacities of the countries throughout the accession process, resulting in progressive, positive developments in the region.
IPA funding will amount to some €11.5bn over 2007‑13. The beneficiary countries are: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey. Detailed allocations per country are available in the IPA Multi‑annual Indicative Financial Framework (MIFF ).
IPA replaces the previous instruments for pre‑accession: Phare, ISPA, SAPARD, the pre‑accession instrument for Turkey, and the financial instrument for the Western Balkans, CARDS. Since 2007, the enlargement countries have received EU funding and support through this single channel.
EU pre‑accession funds make political and economic reform easier in the beneficiary countries and prepare them for the rights and obligations that come with EU membership. With the EU's help, citizens in the enlargement region can enjoy better opportunities and overall conditions. Their countries can develop the same standards we enjoy as citizens of the EU. The pre‑accession funds also help the EU reach its own objectives regarding a sustainable economic recovery, energy supply, transport, the environment and climate change, etc. This is a sound investment in the future.
The allocation of EU pre‑accession funds helps translate the political priorities of the enlargement strategy into concrete actions. Through IPA, the EU reinforces its guidance to the aspiring countries on the priorities necessary for aligning with EU standards and legislation.
EU funding priorities
IPA beneficiary countries have very different funding needs. IPA is designed to meet these different needs flexibly, and provide a tailor-made funding solution through the following channels (known as "components"):
- Transition Assistance and Institution Building – for institution building measures and associated investments. Supports the transition to a democratic society and market economy. Helps strengthen democratic institutions, administrative & judicial capacity, and civil society.
- Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) – for cross-border cooperation between the enlargement countries; or between them and EU countries. Essential for promoting good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation and working towards a sustainable economic, social and territorial development of border regions. Prepares the countries for managing the Structural Funds, once they become EU members.
- Regional Development – for investment in transport, environment and economic cohesion, and associated technical assistance. Participating in such programmes should help beneficiary countries to use EU regional funding more effectively once it becomes available (after they become EU member states).
- Human Resources Development – supports the development of human capital and helps reduce social exclusion. IPA assistance in this area contributes to improving work skills, creating more and better jobs, and increasing social inclusion and equality.
- Rural Development – contributes to sustainable rural development. Assistance for restructuring agriculture and adapting it to EU standards.
The current IPA Regulation (the legal basis for IPA funding) expires on 31December 2013. To ensure that assistance to enlargement countries is not interrupted, the new draft "IPA II" Regulation will enter into force on 1 January 2014 once approved by EU lawmakers.