The fund will be used to support seven countries on their path to EU membership in adopting reforms required to comply with EU rules and values.
Parliament gave its green light on Wednesday to the new generation of the pre-accession funding instrument that will help seven countries better prepare to meet the obligations of future EU membership. Worth 14.2 billion euro, the 2021-2027 Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III) will support the implementation of EU-related reforms in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Turkey.
The general objective of IPA III is to support these countries in adopting and implementing the political, institutional, legal, administrative, social and economic reforms required to comply with Union values and to progressively align with the EU’s rules, standards and policies (the ‘acquis’).
Conditionality and increased role of the Parliament
This fund, the third generation of the IPA, can alter or suspend assistance if the respect of ‘fundamental’ values – democracy, human rights and rule of law – deteriorates. As a result, receiving funds from the IPA will become conditional upon a country’s respect for these values.
The revised performance-based instrument will pursue goals of climate and environmental protection, human rights and gender equality. Assistance among the donors will be better coordinated, and civil society organisations and local and regional authorities will be more closely involved.
Parliament will ensure increased democratic scrutiny through its involvement in defining some of the instrument’s objectives and thematic priorities. This includes the delegated acts procedure and a regular geopolitical dialogue with the Commission.
Co-rapporteur Željana Zovko (EPP, HR): “With IPA III and its historic budget of more than 14 billion euro, the EU reaffirms its continued commitment to the path of these countries towards European integration. The instrument’s programming and governance have been improved to facilitate the allocation of investments in necessary reforms and offers opportunities to create jobs, improve infrastructure and ensure the security and stability of the region.”
Co-rapporteur Tonino Picula(S&D, HR): “The new generation of the IPA will reinforce the democratic, normative and socio-economic transformation of aspirant EU members. It enables smarter, better targeted, more visible and sustainable support to candidate and potential candidate countries on their path towards the EU. With the agreement today, we managed to secure strategic, conditional and visible funding that will assist and help transform enlargement countries in the face of joint challenges”.
The Regulation will now be signed into law and will apply retroactively from 1 January 2021.
The first generation of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance was put in place in 2007, followed by IPA II in 2014. The countries covered by the instrument will also be eligible for funding under the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI/Global Europe).