IPA strategic planning and programming

The following documents are requested only from the Candidate Countries (under IPA Components III and IV). Their principal aim is to prepare beneficiary countries for the future use of the Cohesion policy instruments by imitating closely its strategic documents - National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) and Operational Programmes (OP) - and management modes ("learning by doing" approach).

1. Strategic Coherence Frameworks (SCF) are prepared per country. The Strategic Coherence Frameworks's objective is threefold:

  • Ensure complementarity and consistency between EU assistance through the various Operational Programmes, with a view to maximising the expected development impact;
  • Ensuring consistency on one hand with the key EU areas of intervention and priorities set out in the Multi-Annual Indicative Planning Documents (MIPD), and on the other hand with the beneficiary country's priorities expressed in the relevant national development documents;
  • Guaranteeing relevant concentration of the assistance, both sectoral and geographic, around a limited number of core strategic priorities.

As with the NSRF the SCF should cover the whole programming period (2007-2013) and does not need to be revised annually. This time-frame being wider than the time-frame for the Operational Programmes under components III and IV (initially for three years, with programme modification for additional two years), the priorities retained in the SCF need to have a much wider scope than those covered in the initial Operational Programmes.

2. Multi-annual Operational Programmes

The multi-annual operational programmes under IPA are precursors of the operational programmes under the Structural funds regime.

- They are established by country, by component and by theme. Their content translates the major areas of intervention and main priorities laid down in the MIPDs into detailed priorities and measures. The Operational Programmes shall specify, inter alia, the objectives pursued, the fields of intervention, the expected results,, the management procedures and total amount of financing planned.

Operational Programmes under component III are being implemented under the decentralised management system , which require that the implementation of actions by beneficiary countries, subject to ex-ante (initially) or ex-post (at a latter stage) scrutiny by the Commission.