How IPA works

Similar to Structural Funds, as of 1 January 2007 pre-accession funds underwent a significant policy reform. The most visible effect of this reform was the replacement of several European Union programmes and financial instruments (PHARE, PHARE CBC, ISPA, SAPARD, CARDS and the financial instrument for Turkey) with one single instrument and legal framework- the Instrument for the Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA).

The legal framework for this new instrument was established under Council Regulation (EC) 1085/2006 of 17 July 2006 and its implementation provisions in Commission Regulation (EC) 718/2007, as amended by Commission Regulation (EC) 80/2010 and Commission Regulation (EC) 1292/2011.
Financing under this single umbrella is provided through five "components":

  1. Transition Assistance and Institution Building : managed by the European Commission's Directorate General for Enlargement
  2. Cross-Border Co-operation (with EU Member states and other countries eligible for IPA)
  3. Regional Development (providing support to transport, environment infrastructure and enhancing competitiveness and reducing regional disparities);
  4. Human Resources Development (strengthening human capital and combating exclusion) : managed by the European Commission's Directorate General for Employment and Social Affairs
  5. Rural Development : managed by the European Commission's Directorate General for Agriculture.

IPA components III-V are designed to mirror closely structural, cohesion and rural development funds, in preparation for the management of such funds upon accession. It allows beneficiary countries to prepare themselves for successful participation in EU cohesion policy after accession. This should help them to absorb EU cohesion funding more effectively once it becomes available.

The European Commission's Directorate General for Regional Policy is responsible for the implementation of the Regional Development Component (so-called Component III) and Component II in the part concerning Member States.

Under IPA 2007-2013, Components I and II are open to all beneficiary countries whereas Components III, IV and V are open to the Candidate Countries only (current Candidate Countries are: Turkey and the Republic of North Macedonia).

However, Albania and Serbia currently remain outside the scope of intervention of IPA Component III and IV, because they obtained candidate status too late in the 2007-2013 period.

Current potential Candidate Countries eligible for IPA funding are: Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo under UNSC Resolution 1244/99.