How is the programme designed to deliver results?


Each candidate or potential candidate for Membership of the EU must meet the so-called Copenhagen (accession) criteria, which measure alignment with EU rules, standards, policies and practices along political, economic and administrative dimensions. This requires ambitious political and economic reforms.

Ensuring that candidate countries are prepared for EU membership and supporting their accession process goes beyond the interests and means of individual Member States and can thus only be adequately achieved at EU level.


IPA III will support beneficiaries in adopting and implementing the political, institutional, legal, administrative, social and economic reforms required to comply with EU values and to progressively align with EU rules, standards, policies and practices with a view to future EU membership, thereby contributing to mutual stability, security, peace and prosperity.


IPA III has the following specific objectives:

  1. Strengthen the rule of law, democracy, the respect of human rights, fundamental rights and international law, civil society, security as well as migration management including border management;
  2. Reinforce the effectiveness of public administration and support structural reforms and good governance;
  3. Shape rules, standards, policies and practices of beneficiaries in alignment to those of the EU and to reinforce reconciliation, neighbourly relations, and people‑to‑people contacts;
  4. Foster socio-economic development; and reinforce environmental protection, increase resilience to climate change, accelerate the shift towards a low-carbon economy and develop the digital economy and society;
  5. Support territorial cohesion and cross-border cooperation.


  • EUR 14 147.1 millionTotal financial programming 2021-2027
2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027
1 901.4 1 940.5 1 979.6 2 019.6 2 059.7 2 101.7 2 144.6

In EUR million.


IPA III supports actions under the following thematic priorities for assistance:

  • Establishing and promoting from an early stage the proper functioning of the institutions necessary in order to secure the rule of law;
  • Reforming public administrations;
  • Strengthening economic governance;
  • Strengthening capacity to prevent conflict, build peace and address pre-and post-crisis;
  • Strengthening the capacities of civil society organisations and social partners' organisations;
  • Promoting the alignment of partner countries’ rules, standards, policies and practices to those of the Union, including state aid rules;
  • Strengthening access to and quality of education, training and lifelong learning at all levels, and offering support to cultural and creative sectors;
  • Fostering quality employment and access to the labour market;
  • Promoting social protection and inclusion and combating poverty;
  • Promoting smart, sustainable, inclusive, safe transport and removing bottlenecks in key network infrastructures;
  • Improving the private-sector environment and competitiveness of enterprises;
  • Improving access to digital technologies and services and strengthening research, technological development and innovation;
  • Contributing to the security and safety of food supply;
  • Protecting and improving the quality of the environment;
  • Increasing the ability of the agri-food and fisheries sectors to cope with competitive pressure and market forces as well as to progressively align with the Union rules and standards.

Delivery mode

IPA III will be implemented through direct and indirect management. Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) is the leading service. Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) is responsible for rural development programmes and Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) for cross-border cooperation programmes between IPA beneficiaries and EU Member States.

Performance framework: more information

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Where are we in the implementation?

You will find information on the programme implementation in this webpage.

It will be updated when the programme will have started on an annual basis alongside the publication of the draft budget and the discharge.

Next publication (estimation): June 2022.

Predecessor programmes 2014-2020

IPA III will build on its 2014-2020 MFF predecessor IPA II, but will aim to accelerate project implementation by reducing the time gap between project selection (which will be based on technical maturity besides alignment to the country-specific recommendations of the enlargement package) and effective contracting.

Working on the lessons learned of IPA II, in IPA III the final selection of actions will also take into account the assessment of the performance of the beneficiaries in the enlargement agenda, their commitment to and progress in implementing reforms, with particular attention to fundamental areas like the rule of law.

IPA III will continue to implement the 2018 Western Balkans Strategy, contribute to the implementation of the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans adopted in 2020, and reflect developments in relations with Turkey.

2014-2020 Pre-Accession Assistance

  • EUR 12 893.6 millionBudget allocation 2014-2020

Overall execution (2014-2020)

  Total %
Commitments EUR 12 813.1 million
Payments EUR 5 669.2 million

This graph includes implementation based on voted budget appropriations and carried-over appropriations.


Key monitoring indicators

  Baseline Progress Target Results Assessment
‘Distance to frontier’ (doing business) score (western Balkans) 60
72 73 compared to a target score of 72 On track
‘Distance to frontier’ (doing business) score (Turkey) 65
73 77 compared to a target score of 73 On track
GDP per capita as % of EU level – (western Balkans, excluding Kosovo) (1) 33%
43% 37% compared to a target score of 43% Moderate progress
GDP per capita as % of EU level – (Turkey) (1) 49%
65% 59% compared to a target score of 65% Moderate progress
Cross-border cooperation programmes concluded (IPA – IPA)  
10 9 out of 10 programmes Moderate progress
Cross-border cooperation programmes concluded (IPA – EU Member States)  
12 10 out of 12 programmes Moderate progress

(1) Latest results from 2019.

% of target achieved by the end of 2020



Concrete examples of achievements

  • 100 000students, researchers, staff and others participated in Erasmus+ activities involving western Balkans partners in 2014-2019.
  • 1 800 000of the most vulnerable refugees are currently provided with monthly cash transfers under the emergency social safety net in Turkey.
  • 416.5 kmof the national road network in Albania have had better pavement conditions since 2015 due to adequate maintenance under IPA II.
  • 7 805housing units were built under the regional housing programme by the end of 2020.
  • 75 000people in Kosovo were connected to district heating in Pristina and Gjakova in 2014-2020, reducing air pollution and increasing energy efficiency.

Programme Performance Overview

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