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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations

Overview - Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance

The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) is the means by which the EU has been supporting reforms in the enlargement region with financial and technical assistance since 2007. IPA funds build up the capacities of the beneficiaries throughout the accession process, resulting in progressive, positive developments in the region.

For the period 2007-2013, IPA had a budget of EUR 11.5 billion; its successor, the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (known as IPA II), built on the results already achieved by allocating EUR 12.8 billion for the period 2014-2020.

As part of the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework, on 14 June 2018 the European Commission presented its proposal for IPA II’s successor, the Regulation establishing the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III). Following the political agreement reached with the European Parliament and the Council on 2 June 2021, the Regulation is set to be adopted in September 2021, once the necessary steps at technical level have been taken.

The current beneficiaries are: AlbaniaBosnia and HerzegovinaKosovoMontenegroNorth MacedoniaSerbiaand Turkey.

Purpose

EU pre-accession funds are a sound investment into the future of both the enlargement region and the EU itself. They help the beneficiaries make political and economic reforms, preparing them for the rights and obligations that come with EU membership. Those reforms should provide their citizens with better opportunities and allow for development of standards equal to the ones 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.

IPA III (2021-2027)

Following the European Commission’s proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III), which can be downloaded here, an agreement was reached by all three institutions on 2 June 2021.

With a final budgetary envelope of EUR 14.162 billion (in current prices), the new instrument will be clearly aligned with the flagships and priorities of the ‘Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans’ (October 2020), the Western Balkan Strategy ‘A credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans (February 2018), and the Commission Communication ‘Enhancing the accession process – a credible EU perspective for the Western Balkans (February 2020). IPA III will also support the implementation of robust economic reform programmes and enhance the focus on reforms necessary for future membership. At the same time, it will be sufficiently flexible to adapt to the evolving situation in Turkey and reflect developments in our relations with the country.

The new instrument will increase steer from the Union, as its programming will be based on priorities rather than country envelopes. This will allow rewarding performance and progress towards key priorities and increased flexibility to respond to the evolving needs of the partners in their path towards accession.

IPA II (2014-2020)

Although the IPA II Regulation applied until 31 December 2020, implementation of IPA II funds is still ongoing.

Prepared in partnership with the beneficiaries, IPA II set a new framework for providing pre-accession assistance for the period 2014-2020.

The most important novelty of IPA II was its strategic focus. Indicative Strategy Papers were the specific strategic planning documents made for each beneficiary for the 7-year period. These provided for a stronger ownership by the beneficiaries through integrating their own reform and development agendas. A Multi-Country Strategy Paper addressed priorities for regional cooperation or territorial cooperation.

IPA II targeted reforms within the framework of pre-defined sectors. These sectors covered areas closely linked to the enlargement strategy, such as democracy and governance, rule of law, and growth and competitiveness. This sector approach promoted structural reforms that helped transform a given sector and bring it up to EU standards. It allowed to move towards a more targeted assistance, ensuring efficiency, sustainability and focus on results.

IPA II also allowed for a more systematic use of sector budget support and gave more weight to performance measurement: indicators agreed with the beneficiaries helped assess to what extent the expected results were achieved.

Performance reward

The performance reward was a mechanism set up in the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance II Regulation 231/2014 (Art 14). It provided a financial incentive for individual IPA II beneficiaries in case of particular progress made towards meeting the membership criteria and/or efficient implementation of pre-accession assistance. The Regulation twice foresaw the use of the performance reward scheme in the period 2014-2020 (current Multi-annual Financial Framework). The reward was first allocated in 2017, benefitting Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia with an overall amount of EUR 78 million.

The amount allocated for the 2020 performance reward exercise was also EUR 78 million. The Commission proposed to reward the two countries, which had undertaken the most significant steps to advance EU reforms: Albania and North Macedonia. 

Legal basis

The IPA II regulation came into force on 16 March 2014 and was applicable retroactively from 1st January 2014. The IPA II regulation was complemented by the Common Implementing Regulation (CIR), a set of simplified and harmonised implementing rules and procedures for all external action instruments, as well as the IPA II Implementing Regulation adopted by the Commission on 2 May 2014.

IPA (2007-2013)

The IPA Regulation for the period 2007-2013 expired on 31 December 2013, although some of its activities are still ongoing.

It was designed to provide financial assistance through five channels (known as "components"): transition assistance and institution building, cross-border cooperation, regional development, human resource development and rural development.

Key figures

IPA II 2014-2020 indicative allocations

Country

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018-2020

TOTAL
2014-2020

Albania

68.7

91.9

82.7

80.2

316.3

639.5

Bosnia & Herzegovina

75.7

39.7

47

74.8

314.9

552.1

Kosovo*

66.75

82.1

73.86

78.16

301.3

602.1

Montenegro

39.5

36.4

35.4

41.3

126.5

279.1

North Macedonia

81.7

67.2

64.6

82.2

313.1

608.7

Serbia

179.0

223.1

202.8

212.2

722.2

1,539.1

Turkey

614

626

620

493

1,181

3,533

Multi-country

242.3

346.7

435.3

403.4

1,552.5

2,980.2

* Amounts to be decided at a later stage.

IPA I 2007-2013 indicative allocations

Country

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Albania

61.0

70.7

81.2

94.1

94.4

94.5

95.3

Bosnia & Herzegovina

62.1

74.8

89.1

105.3

107.4

107.8

63.6

Croatia

141.2

146.0

151.2

153.5

156.5

156.1

93.5

Iceland

-

-

-

-

12.0

12.0

5.8

Kosovo*

68.3

184.7

106.1

67.3

68.7

68.8

71.4

Montenegro

31.4

32.6

34.5

33.5

34.1

35.0

34.5

North Macedonia

58.5

70.2

81.8

91.6

98.0

101.8

113.2

Serbia

189.7

190.9

194.8

197.9

201.8

202.0

208.3

Turkey

497.2

538.7

566.4

653.7

779.9

860.2

902.9

Multi-Beneficiary Programme

129.5

137.7

188.8

141.7

186.2

176.2

177.2

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