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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, the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) had a budget of EUR 11.5 billion. Its successor, -IPA II- was allocated EUR 12.8 billion for the period 2014-2020. For the new multiannual financial framework period 2021-27, the IPA III budgetary envelope is EUR 14.162 billion.

The current beneficiaries are: AlbaniaBosnia and HerzegovinaKosovoMontenegroNorth MacedoniaSerbiaand Turkey.

Purpose

The EU pre-accession funds are a sound investment into the future of both the enlargement region and the EU itself. They support beneficiaries to implement the necessary political and economic reforms, preparing them for the rights and obligations that come with the EU membership. Those reforms should provide their citizens with better opportunities and allow for the 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 including a sustainable economic situation, energy supply, transport, the environment and climate change, and stability.

IPA III (2021-2027)

The general objective of the new IPA III instrument is to support the beneficiaries in adopting and implementing the political, institutional, legal, administrative, social and economic reforms required by those beneficiaries to comply with Union values and to progressively align to Union rules, standards, policies and practices with a view to Union membership, thereby contributing to their stability, security and prosperity.

The new instrument is 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 presents a solid policy-driven approach, with strategic and dynamic deployment of assistance, putting the fundamental requirements for the EU membership at the core of the instrument. By further focusing EU financial assistance on key priorities, IPA III will leverage support to reforms fostering sustainable socio-economic development and bringing the partners closer to the Union’s values and standards. 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.

Legal basis of IPA III

The IPA III Regulation was adopted on 15 September 2021, came into force on 20 September 2021 and is applicable retroactively since 1 January 2021. The IPA III Regulation is complemented by the Commission Delegated Regulation, which was adopted on 1 October 2021 and came into force on 3 December 2021. It sets out specific objectives and thematic priorities for IPA III assistance. The IPA III Implementing Regulation was adopted by the Commission on 15 December 2021 and came into force on 16 December 2021. Furthermore, the NDICI-GE Regulation, which was adopted on 9 June 2021, came into force on 14 June 2021 and applies retroactively since 1 January 2021, sets out certain horizontal provisions, which are also applicable for IPA III assistance.

IPA III Programming Framework

The IPA III Programming Framework, as described in Article 7 of the IPA III Regulation, is the overarching European Commission's strategic document for the use of EU funds assisting the IPA III beneficiaries for the duration of the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework. It replaces the previous country-specific strategy papers.

The new programming framework 2021-2027 reflects the specific objectives of the IPA III Regulation and focuses on the priorities of the enlargement process according to five thematic windows, which mirror the clusters of negotiating chapters as per the revised enlargement methodology.

Programming of EU assistance is based on EU thematic priorities rather than pre-defined 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 under IPA II

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 of IPA II

The IPA II Regulation came into force on 16 March 2014 and was applicable retroactively from 1 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 III 2021-2027 indicative allocations

The table below shows the indicative allocation for the period 2021-2027 to support the thematic priorities of IPA III programming framework. Prices are expressed in million Euro.

IPA III Windows%2021202220232024202520262027Total
Window 1: Rule of law, fundamental rights and democracy15,132812872922983043103172.089
Window 2: Good governance, EU acquis alignment, good neighbourly relations and strategic communication16,593083143213273333403472.291
Window 3: Green agenda and sustainable connectivity42,257888048208378538708885.860
Window 4: Competitiveness and inclusive growth22,314144224314404484574673.080
Window 5: Territorial and cross-border cooperation3,5165666869717273485
Total Operational Budget100,0%1.8551.8941.9321.9712.0102.0512.09313.804
Administrative Appropriationsn/a49495051525354357
Total100,00%1.9041.9431.9822.0222.0622.1042.14714.162

Current prices are calculated by applying annually a fixed deflator of 2% to the amounts in 2018 prices. Totals do not tally due to rounding.

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

News

Key documents