Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA): Overview

The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) is the means by which the EU supports reforms in the ‘enlargement countries’ with financial and technical help. The IPA funds build up the capacities of the countries throughout the accession process, resulting in progressive, positive developments in the region. For the period 2007-2013 IPA had a budget of some € 11.5 billion; its successor, IPA II, builds on the results already achieved by dedicating € 11.7 billion for the period 2014-2020.

Current beneficiaries are: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey.


EU pre-accession funds are a sound investment into the future of both the enlargement countries and the EU itself. They help the beneficiaries make political and economic reforms, preparing them for the rights and obligations that come with EU membership. Those reforms should provide their citizens with better opportunities and allow for 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 regarding a sustainable economic recovery, energy supply, transport, the environment and climate change, etc.

Pre-accession assistance: an investment in
•    Public administration reform
•    Rule of law
•    Sustainable economy
•    People
•    Agriculture and rural development

IPA II (2014-2020)

Prepared in partnership with the beneficiaries, IPA II sets a new framework for providing pre-accession assistance for the period 2014-2020.

The most important novelty of IPA II is its strategic focus. Country Strategy Papers are the specific strategic planning documents made for each beneficiary for the 7-year period. These will provide for a stronger ownership by the beneficiaries through integrating their own reform and development agendas. A Multi-Country Strategy Paper will address priorities for regional cooperation or territorial cooperation.

IPA II targets reforms within the framework of pre-defined sectors. These sectors cover areas closely linked to the enlargement strategy, such as democracy and governance, rule of law or growth and competitiveness. This sector approach promotes structural reform that will help transform a given sector and bring it up to EU standards. It allows a move towards a more targeted assistance, ensuring efficiency, sustainability and focus on results.

IPA II also allows for a more systematic use of sector budget support. Finally, it gives more weight to performance measurement: indicators agreed with the beneficiaries will help assess to what extent the expected results have been achieved.

Legal basis

The IPA II Regulation came into force on 16 March 2014 and is applicable retroactively from 1st January 2014. The IPA II regulation is complemented by the Common Implementing Regulation (CIR), which is 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)

Implementation of IPA 2007-2013 is still underway.

It was designed to provide financial assistance through five channels (known as “components”): transition assistance and institution building, cross-border cooperation (CBC), regional development, human resource development and rural development.

Legal basis

The IPA Regulation for the period 2007-2013 expired on 31 December 2013.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.