The European Commission’s Inter-regional Programme (IRP) aims to support the reform and transition processes currently underway in the EU’s neighbouring partner countries. It promotes approximation of EU law, while enhancing co-operation, economic integration and democratic governance.
To achieve these goals, the IRP deploys two key instruments called TAIEX and SIGMA.
TAIEX – Technical Assistance and Information Exchanges – was set up in 1996 to provide short-term, targeted technical assistance to the Central and Eastern European candidate countries. TAIEX helped the candidates to understand, draft and implement EU legislation. It produced information on EU laws, arranged study visits to the European Commission and Members States, and provided a team of experts to offer advice on accession-related issues.
TAIEX was introduced to the ENPI regions in 2006 to offer advice to partner countries as they implement their European Neighbourhood Policy action plans.
SIGMA (Support for Improvement in Governance and Management) is a joint European Commission and OECD initiative. Principally financed by the EU, it focuses on strengthening public management in areas such as administrative reform, public procurement, public sector ethics, anti-corruption, and external and internal financial control.