IPA – Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance 2007-2013
The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) offers assistance to countries engaged in the accession process to the European Union (EU) for the period 2007-2013. The instrument replaces other EU financial instruments, such as CARDS, ISPA, PHARE, PHARE CBC, SAPARD and the Financial Instrument for Turkey.
The IPA is intended as a flexible instrument and therefore provides assistance which depends on the progress made by the beneficiary countries and their needs as shown in the Commission’s evaluations and strategy papers.
IPA offers technical support to candidate and potential candidate countries for:
- support for transition and institution-building;
- support for public administration reform and decentralization process;
- the promotion and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and enhanced respect for minority rights, the promotion of gender equality and non-discrimination; the development of civil society; social inclusion; reconciliation, confidence-building measures and reconstruction;
- economic reform.
Candidate countries are prepared for full implementation of the Community acquis at the time of accession. While potential candidates shall benefit from support to progressively align themselves to the Community acquis.
The beneficiary countries are divided into two categories, depending on their status:
- candidate countries: the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Turkey;
- potential candidate countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia including Kosovo as defined by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244/1999.
Exceptionally, and in the interests of coherence and efficiency, other countries may benefit from measures financed by the IPA.
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:
1.Support for transition and institution-building
This component aims at financing capacity-building and institution-building;
This component aims 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:
3. Regional development
This ccomponent aims 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;
4. Human resources development
This component concerns preparation for participation in cohesion policy and the European Social Fund;
Management and implementation of the IPA
The IPA is based on strategic multi-annual planning established in accordance with the broad political guidelines set out in the Commission's enlargement package, which now includes a Multi-annual Indicative Financial Framework (MIFF). The MIFF takes the form of a table presenting the Commission's intentions for the allocation of funds for the three forthcoming years, broken down by beneficiary and by component, on the basis of the needs and the administrative and management capacity of the country concerned and compliance with the Copenhagen accession criteria. Altogether, the funds allocated for the years 2007-2013 are 11,5 billion of euro.
Subsequently, for each beneficiary country a Multi-annual Indicative Planning Document (MIPD) is established, which covers the main intervention areas envisaged for that country. On the basis of the MIPD the national authorities of the beneficiary countries implement annual programmes (I component) or multi-annual programmes (allt the other components).
Assistance under the IPA can take, inter alia, the following forms:
- investment, procurement contracts or subsidies;
- administrative cooperation, involving experts sent from the Member States;
- participation in Community programmes or agencies;
- measures to support the implementation process and management of the programmes;
- budget support (granted exceptionally and subject to supervision).
The application of the IPA is also subject to a suspension clause, which applies to all beneficiary countries that fail to comply with the principles of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and minority rights, and the commitments contained in the partnership (accession partnership or European partnership). It also applies to countries that fail to make sufficient progress towards fulfilment of accession criteria or, for the Western Balkan countries, towards the reform process.
Furthermore it is advisable to regularly check the websites of the specific European programmes operating in the beneficiary countries (i.e. IPA Adriatic Cross Border Cooperation, South East Europe, TAIEX).
Participation in the award of procurement or grant contracts is open to all natural and legal persons and international organisations. As such, natural persons must be nationals of, or legal persons established in:
- a Member State of the EU or the European Economic Area (EEA);
- a country that is a beneficiary of the IPA or a country that is a beneficiary of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI).