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Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance

Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Agriculture > Agriculture: enlargement

Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA)

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 of 17 July 2006 establishing an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) [See amending act(s)].


The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) is the financial instrument for the European Union (EU) pre-accession process for the period 2007-2013. Assistance is provided on the basis of the European Partnerships of the potential candidates and the Accession Partnerships of the candidate countries, which means the Western Balkan countries, Turkey and Iceland. 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.

Nature of the IPA

The beneficiary countries are divided into two categories, depending on their status as either candidate countries under the accession process or potential candidates under the stabilisation and association process, namely:

  • 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.

The annexes will be amended as and when changes in the status of the countries occur, pursuant to a Council decision adopted by qualified majority on a proposal from the Commission.

Exceptionally, and in the interests of coherence and efficiency, other countries may benefit from measures financed by the IPA. Provided these measures form part of a regional, cross-border, trans-national or worldwide framework and do not duplicate other programmes under Community external aid instruments.

The IPA was designed so as to address the needs of the beneficiary countries within the context of pre-accession policy in the most appropriate way. Its main aim is to support institution-building and the rule of law, human rights, including the fundamental freedoms, minority rights, gender equality and non-discrimination, both administrative and economic reforms, economic and social development, reconciliation and reconstruction, and regional and cross-border cooperation.

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).

Candidate countries are therefore 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. Potential candidates may however benefit from similar measures as those provided under the last three components under the framework of the first component. The difference is essentially in the way these measures are implemented, since for the three components preparing for implementation of the structural and agricultural funds the beneficiary country is required to manage Community funds in a decentralised manner.

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.

The strategic planning is made up of multi-annual indicative planning documents, with the MIFF constituting the reference framework. They are established for each beneficiary country and cover the main intervention areas envisaged for that country.

As regards action on the ground, annual or multi-annual programmes (depending on the component) based on the indicative planning documents, are adopted by the Commission. They are implemented following three management methods: by centralised, decentralised or shared management.

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 rules of participation for implementing the different programmes launched under the IPA are flexible enough to ensure that the instrument is effective. 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).

Moreover participation is also open to natural and legal persons from countries other than those mentioned above where these countries enjoy reciprocal access to Community external assistance. Reciprocal access is based on a country’s or regional group of countries’ status as a donor and is subject to a Commission decision adopted after consulting the IPA Committee.

All supplies and materials needed to implement such contracts must comply with the rules of origin, in other words they must originate in the EU or a country eligible under the previous paragraph. Experts are not subject to the nationality condition.

However, in exceptional cases, the Commission may depart from these rules. Moreover, operations may be co-financed by the EU and a regional organisation, a Member State or a third country (subject to reciprocity), or financed by the EU and implemented via an international organisation. In this case the natural or legal persons eligible for co-financing are also entitled to IAP financing.

The management of funds granted under this Regulation complies with the general management conditions for Community funds set out in Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002, which the Commission is responsible for implementing (management, monitoring, evaluation, reporting). Such management must also comply strictly with the rules on the protection of the Community’s financial interests. In this context the Commission and the Court of Auditors have the power of audit over all contractors and subcontractors, on the basis of documents and on the spot, ex ante and ex post.

The Commission is also assisted by committees. The purpose of the IPA Committee set up by the Regulation is to ensure coordination and coherence between assistance granted under the different components. However, for implementing the “regional development”, “human resources development” and “rural development” components, the Commission is assisted by committees established within the framework of each structural fund.

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. The Council may then take appropriate measures, acting by qualified majority on a proposal from the Commission, after informing the European Parliament.


This Regulation forms part of the revised external aid framework for the 2007-2013 financial perspective, in particular in terms of efficiency and coherence, while taking into account the specific features of pre-accession aid. The IPA must be consistent with development aid, but its primary aim is to prepare the beneficiary countries for accession in the not too distant future. One of the main characteristics of pre-accession aid is its bridging function, since it is designed to prepare countries for the period after accession.

The IPA therefore provides a unique and rationalised framework. As such it will replace, from 1 January 2007, the programmes for the period 2000-2006, namely:

  • the programmes for candidate countries, namely Phare, SAPARD and ISPA, Phare Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) and Coordination, pre-accession financial assistance for Turkey;
  • the programmes for potential candidate countries, namely CARDS.


Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006

1.8.2006 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 210, 31.7.2006

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EU) No 540/2010


OJ L 158 of 24.6.2010

Related Acts


Commission Regulation (EU) No 80/2010 of 28 January 2010 amending Regulation (EC) No 718/2007 implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 establishing an instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA)
This Regulation clarifies the rules on granting and evaluating pre-accession assistance. Furthermore, it establishes Community rules for the five thematic IPA components. It also includes the potential for funding granted under cross-border cooperation.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 718/2007 of 12 June 2007 implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 establishing an instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA) [Official Journal L 170 of 29.6.2007].

Decision 2007/766/EC of 14 November 2007 drawing up the list of regions and areas eligible for financing under the Cross-border Cooperation Component of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance for the purpose of cross-border cooperation between Member States and beneficiary countries for the period 2007 to 2013 [Official Journal L 310 of 28.11.2007].


Communication from the Communication to the European Parliament and the Council of 12 October 2011 – Instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA). Revised multi-annual indicative financial framework for 2012-2013 [COM(2011) 641 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 14 October 2009 – Instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA) – Multi-annual indicative financial framework for 2011-2013 [COM(2009) 543 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 5 November 2008 – Instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA) multi-annual indicative financial framework for 2010-2012 [COM(2008) 705 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – Instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA) – Multi-annual indicative financial framework for 2009-2011 [COM(2007) 689 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 8 November 2006 to the Council and the European Parliament – Instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA). Multi-annual indicative financial framework for 2008-2010 [COM(2006) 672 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee of 23 December 2009 – 2008 ANNUAL Report on the implementation of the instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA) [COM(2009) 699 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee of 15 December 2008 – 2007 Annual IPA Report [COM(2008) 850 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Accession Partnership with Croatia

Accession Partnership with Croatia

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Accession Partnership with Croatia


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Enlargement > Ongoing enlargement > Croatia

Accession Partnership with Croatia

The purpose of the Accession Partnership is to assist the Croatian authorities in their efforts to meet the accession criteria, especially the political criteria (or Copenhagen criteria). It covers in detail the principles and priorities for the country’s accession preparations, with particular reference to implementation of the acquis, and forms the reference framework for programming pre-accession assistance from Community funds.

Council Decision 2008/119/EC of 12 February 2008 on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the Accession Partnership with Croatia and repealing Decision 2006/145/EC.


The Accession Partnership is the main instrument intended to provide the Croatian authorities with guidance in their preparations for accession to the European Union (EU) since accession negotiations were started on 3 October 2005. This Accession Partnership is an instrument in the pre-accession strategy.

The legal basis of the Accession Partnership with Croatia is Regulation (EC) No 533/2004 establishing partnerships with countries of the western Balkans. The partnerships are flexible instruments modified according to progress achieved and tasks remaining. The priorities identified are thus defined by the Commission’s opinion on the accession request. They are modified, if necessary, on the basis of reports.

The Council of the EU adopts the Accession Partnership, and any subsequent amendments, by a qualified majority on the basis of a proposal from the Commission.


The objective of the partnership for accession is to register in a single legal framework:

  • the priorities for reform;
  • guidelines for financial assistance with a view to implementing these priority areas;
  • the principles and conditions for implementing the Partnership.

In order to achieve the priorities identified in the Accession Partnership, Croatia is adopting a national programme for transposing the Community acquis (NPAA). This includes the procedures and programme for implementing the Partnership.

The follow-up to the Partnership implementation is ensured within the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), notably the Commission’s annual follow-up reports.


The priorities are both realistic and attainable goals relating to legislation and its implementation. They are based principally on Croatia’s ability to comply with:

  • the Copenhagen criteria laid down in 1993;
  • the conditions set for the stabilisation and association process (Council conclusions of 27 April 1997 and 21 and 22 June 1999);
  • the Zagreb declaration of 2000;
  • the 2003 Thessaloniki agenda;
  • the negotiation framework adopted on 3 October 2005.

The Accession Partnership with Croatia includes:

  • key priorities, which are short-term priorities. They relate to: commitments made under the SAA; reform of public administration and the judicial system; the fight against corruption; application of the Constitutional Law on National Minorities; completion of the refugee return and integration process; reconciliation among citizens in the region; cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY); resolution of outstanding bilateral issues, particularly in fields relating to borders and fishing; and improvement in business and economic growth potential;
  • political criteria, most importantly democracy and the rule of law (public administration, judicial system, fight against corruption), human rights and the protection of minorities, regional issues and international obligations (protecting the environment and fishing, refugee return, reintegrating returnees, criminal proceedings as regards war crimes, judicial, police and regional cooperation, and border and bilateral issues);
  • economic criteria aiming to guarantee macroeconomic stability, budgetary transparency and management of public debt, to improve management of the health sector, the social welfare system and pensions, to facilitate business entry, to improve the institutional framework for privatisation and restructuring of public enterprises, and to strengthen the labour market;
  • the ability to assume the obligations of membership, namely adoption and implementation of the acquis for 33 of the 35 chapters (thematically arranged by EU legislation policy) to which the accession negotiations apply.

The priorities identified in this Partnership will constitute the basis for future evaluations by the Commission, which regularly evaluates the progress made by Croatia on compliance with the accession criteria, including on the adoption and effective implementation of the acquis.


Croatia has benefited from financial assistance intended to support it in preparing for accession with the pre-accession financial instrument (IPA) for the period 2007-2013. The IPA replaces the instruments Phare, ISPA and SAPARD and CARDS, from which Croatia benefited in the period 2000–2006.

The assistance planned for Croatia under the IPA includes the multiannual indicative financial framework (MIFF link to related MIFF acts) for the period 2009–2011 and the aid planned for Croatia, namely around EUR 749.8 million (including 2007 and 2008). The country is also eligible for funding (including loans and grants) from the European Investment Bank (EIB) under its external lending mandate for the EU’s south-eastern neighbours.

In this context, the accession partnership for Croatia serves as a reference framework for determining the different areas to which funds will be allocated. However, the decisions instituting the financial instruments and the programming documents form the legal framework for financial assistance. Failure to comply with the SAA, the Copenhagen criteria and the priorities defined by the Partnership may result in financial assistance being suspended.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2008/119/EC 19.2.2008 OJ L 42 of 16.2.2008

Related Acts

Commission Communication of 20 April 2004: Opinion on Croatia’s Application for Membership of the European Union [COM(2004) 257 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 16 and 17 December 2004 (FR ) (pdf).
The European Council decided to open accession negotiations with Turkey.


Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, on the one part, and the Republic of Croatia, on the other: [Official Journal L 26 of 28.1.2005].


Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 of 17 July 2006 establishing an instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA) [Official Journal L 210 of 31.7.2006].

Multi-annual indicative financial framework (MIFF) for:

  • 2008–2010 [COM(2006) 672 final – Not published in the Official Journal];
  • 2009–2011 [COM(2007) 689 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Multiannual indicative planning document 2007–2009 for Croatia [EN ] [PDF].


The Reports (EN) are available on the website of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Enlargement.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.