The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) is a key instrument of the European Commission’s pre-accession strategy. The main goal of IPA is to help countries in their harmonization with the standards and policies of the European Union, including the European Union acquis in the process of their accession to the European Union, and also to help these countries to meet the pre-accession criteria, as well as political, economic and legal criteria from Copenhagen for EU membership, by strengthening the capacity of the administration and preparation for programming, management and implementation of the cohesive, structural funds and funds for rural development of the EU according to their accession to the Union.
IPA 2007-2013 (IPA I)
IPA was established as a result of the reform of the European Commission for external assistance, whereby the legal framework for regulating relations was extended with the preparation of the financial perspective 2007-2013. IPA was established as a single pre-accession instrument for the period 2007-2013, which replaced previous assistance programs such as PHARE, ISPA, SAPARD, CARDS and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance for Turkey. IPA was established by Council Regulation with IPA Framework Regulation no. 1085/2006 dated from 17.07.2006, while the rules for the implementation of IPA were established by Regulation of the European Commission (IPA Implementation Regulation no. 718/2007 dated from 12.06.2007). Several projects have been implemented within the framework of IPA I.
IPA2014-2020 (IPА II)
IPA in support of the European Union continued to function for the financial perspective/period 2014-2020, through the Instrument more widely known as IPA II. The use of funds from IPA II is determined by the relevant Regulations (Regulation (EU) No. 231/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council dated from 11.03.2014 on the establishment of IPA II (Official Gazette L, 15.03.2014), Regulation (EU) No. 236/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council dated from 11.03.2014 for establishing common rules and procedures for the implementation of the instruments of the Union for financing external action (Official Gazette L, 15.03.2014) and Regulation (EU) No. 447/2014 of May 2014 on the specific rules for implementingRegulation (EU) No. 231/214 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of IPA II Official Gazette L 132, 03.05.2014), according to which IPA funds are managed on decentralized way whenever possible. The decentralized management of the funds from the IPA assistance was established in order to enable the management of the funds by the assistance beneficiary countries. During the decentralized management of IPA assistance funds, the European Commission delegates part of its authorizations to the beneficiary countries. Before making the decision to transfer the competences for decentralized management for a specific component, program or measure to the beneficiary country, the European Commission requires the fulfillment of certain criteria relating to management and control systems, as well as the condition that national accreditations have been adopted and entered in force. Also, before the final transfer of competences for decentralized management, the Commission reviews again the national accreditations, procedures and structures of each of the bodies and authorities that are part of the IPA pre-accession assistance management structure in the beneficiary country. The decision to transfer the competences for decentralized management of the IPA assistance for the implementation of a certain program contains a list of checks that are carried out by the European Commission.
IPA 2021-2027 (IPА III)
The European Union adopted a set of regulations that regulate the rules for the implementation of the European Union’s external assistance instruments. Regulation 1529/2021 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III), was adopted on September 15, 2021. It regulated the general rules regarding IPA III assistance, objectives and priority areas of assistance, strategic planning, implementation, the financial package and other provisions specific only to the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III). According to the structure, IPA III is divided into 5 windows and 17 thematic priorities, namely:
- Window 1: Rule of Law, Fundamental Rights and Democracy;
- Window 2: Good Governance, Acquis Alignment, Good Neighborly Relations and Strategic Communication;
- Window 3: Green Agenda and Sustainable Connectivity;
- Window 4: Competitiveness and Inclusive Growth and
- Window 5: Territorial and Cross-Border Cooperation
Within window 3: Green Agenda and Sustainable Connectivity, thematic priorities 1 – Environment and climate change and 2 – Transport, digital economy, society and energy are foreseen.
Department for implementation of the instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA) performs the following tasks:
- Performs the function of the IPA structure of the Ministry within the framework of IPA II and also performs the function of Managing Authority of environmental programs in accordance with the competences prescribed in the financial agreements with the EU for the relevant environmental programs, the Decree on the establishment of structures and relations between structures for management of IPA and operational agreements of IPA;
- Performs prioritization of reforms within the competence of the Ministry that will be supported by funds from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance of the EU (IPA);
- Performs planning of programs and projects in the Ministry that will be financed by IPA, in coordination with other donor assistance;
- Ensures consistent monitoring of EC, PRAG and FIDIC rules for implementing tender procedures for IPA projects;
- Monitors and directs the implementation of projects and programs in the Ministry that are financed by IPA;
- Establishes and maintains a functional system of control in relation to the implementation of IPA projects, through written work procedures and agreements with relevant authorities, as well as through control of the daily work of the department;
- Provides financial, human and material resources for timely, efficient and effective implementation of the IPA projects in the Ministry;
- Monitors the sustainability of the results of the IPA projects in the Ministry, as well as the results of the reforms and the change they make in society, etc.
The work of the Department for Implementation of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) is carried out through three units: