Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA)

IPA in a nutshell

In 2007, the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) replaced a series of European Union Programmes and financial instruments for candidate countries or potential candidate countries, namely PHARE, PHARE CBC, ISPA, SAPARD, CARDS and the financial instrument for Turkey. IPA provides assistance in different forms to countries undertaking political and economic reforms, so as to bring beneficiaries closer to EU membership and to aligning their legislation with-and adopting - the acquis communautaire. The aim of the IPA is therefore to enhance the efficiency and coherence of aid by means of a single framework in order to strengthen institutional capacity, cross-border cooperation, economic and social development and rural development.

The IPA structure

To ensure targeted, effective and coherent action, the IPA is made up of five components, each covering priorities defined according to the needs of the beneficiary countries. Two components concern all beneficiary countries:

  • the “support for transition and institution-building” component, aimed at financing capacity-building and institution-building;

  • the “cross-border cooperation” component, aimed at supporting the beneficiary countries in the area of cross-border cooperation between themselves, with the EU Member States or within the framework of cross-border or inter-regional actions.

The other three components are aimed at candidate countries only:

  • the “regional development” component, aimed at supporting the countries' preparations for the implementation of the Community’s cohesion policy, and in particular for the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund;

  • the “human resources development” component, which concerns preparation for participation in cohesion policy and the European Social Fund;

  • the “rural development” component, which concerns preparation for the common agricultural policy and related policies and for the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

The IPA beneficiary countries are divided into two categories:

  • candidate countries (Annex I to the Regulation): the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Turkey;

  • potential candidate countries as defined at the Santa Maria da Feira European Council of 20 June 2000 (Annex II to the Regulation): Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia including Kosovo as defined by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244/1999.

Management and implementation of the IPA

Each country receives funding allocated in line with a rolling three-year multi-annual indicative financial framework (MIFF) linked with the enlargement policy framework. The framework is published each year, as part of the progress reports package, and provides information on the Commission’s intentions by country and by component. This financial matrix forms the link between the political framework and the budgetary process. It is revised annually, on a rolling three-year basis.

Programmes specify the objectives and the fields of intervention, the expected results, the management procedures and total amount of financing planned per project. They contain a summary description of the type of operations to be financed, an indication of the amounts allocated for each type of operation and an indicative implementation timetable. Following approval of annual programmes, specific calls for proposals and tenders are published.

The future of the IPA

A proposal for a revised Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) was adopted on 7 December by the European Commission, building on positive experience from the current assistance.

For more information and download of the new proposal please visit DG Enlargement website or INTERACT IPA CBC section

ipa-publicationDownload the publication: European Commission – Directorate General for Enlargement, IPA Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance: A new focus to EU assistance for enlargement, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2009