The total value of the EU’s financial assistance to Serbia through IPA funds for the period 2007-2012 amounts to approximately EUR 1.1 billion. Essentially, IPA is a mechanism of additional assistance provided by the EU for reforms in Serbia, and it depends on its projects to which extent the allocated funding will be utilised. In its current stage of European integration, Serbia can count on “support for transition and institution-building” and “cross-border cooperation” components.
Once it has passed the next hurdle and gained candidate status, Serbia will gain access to IPA funds for regional development, human resources development and rural development. After becoming a candidate country, the entire management of pre-accession funds will be transferred from the EU Delegation to Serbia via a “decentralized management system” for the EU financial aid. In order for this to happen, Serbia must build up a system of independent institutions and bodies, as well as control mechanisms which will guarantee that the funds are being used for the designed purpose.
This stage of implementation of IPA funds is particularly important as it serves as a sort of preparation for EU membership. The decentralised management system functions in the same way as the procedure for utilisation of resources from the EU’s Structural and Cohesion funds, which makes it a kind of “exercise” for the state institutions in preparation for the period after Serbia’s accession to the EU.
IPA, or the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, is the streamlined mechanism created by the EU to deliver aid efficiently to the Western Balkans and Turkey. This instrument has been designed to streamline the support to reforms in these countries through a single but flexible system, which will bring direct benefit to the citizens, while the countries receive additional assistance in achieving European standards.
The financial value of the IPA projects in the region for the period 2007-2013 totals EUR 11.5 billion. IPA replaces the five previous EU instruments for pre-accession – Phare, ISPA, SAPARD, the Turkey programme, and CARDS.
IPA is focused on needs. So its priorities are based on clear assessments. Key elements are the Accession/European Partnerships that the EU has established with each of the beneficiary countries, the Commission’s enlargement strategy paper, and the annual reports on each of the countries.
The allocation criteria take account of each country’s capacity to use and to manage the funds, and their respect of the conditions for accession. A suspension clause can be applied if conditions are not met. In this way, IPA provides the link between the political framework for enlargement and the EU budgetary process.
IPA provides assistance in different forms to countries undertaking political and economic reforms on their path to EU membership: investment, procurement contracts or subsidies; Member State experts to build administrative cooperation; action to support the beneficiary countries; aid in implementing and managing programmes; in exceptional cases, budget support.
Also, IPA offers the EU with a coherent framework for management and for gradual decentralisation or delegation of management to the beneficiary countries. It also permits flexibility in the application of assistance. IPA provides a powerful link between the budgetary and policy aspects of enlargement. It makes clear to the beneficiary countries what they may expect in terms of assistance, provided they meet the conditions attached.
In this way, IPA reinforces the guidance that the EU provides to the candidate and potential candidate countries on the priorities they should be pursuing. But above all, IPA helps ensure that these countries which are not only its neighbours, but are also potential future members of the EU, develop the standards and values that the EU is built on. In this way, IPA is a real investment in the future – for the beneficiary countries, and for the EU itself. It brings a new focus to EU enlargement assistance.
Generally, IPA funds can be used in four ways:
1. As Technical Support, which usually involves the engagement of experts - consultants who provide services to Serbian institutions, e.g. Serbian Department for Customer Protection, prepare project documentation, develop strategies, conduct training, etc.
2. Through Twinning projects, pairing up local institutions with similar administrations in one of the EU Member States to implement projects, share knowledge and experience and provide assistance in implementing the EU acquis...
3. Through investment projects, mostly involving procurement of equipment, works and implementation of financial arrangements with other financial institutions.
4. Through grants allocated in order to fund special projects involving civil society, local self-government, agencies, etc.
- COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 1085/2006 of 17 July 2006 establishing an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) (PDF, 254KB)
- Frequently asked questions on Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance - IPA (MEMO/06/410), Brussels, 8 Nov 2006 (PDF, 79.08 KB)
- 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) (PDF, 349KB)
- Multi-annual Indicative Planning Document (MIPD) 2007-2009 for Serbia (PDF, 206.77 KB)
- Multi-annual Indicative Planning Document (MIPD) for Serbia 2008-2010 (PDF, 155 KB)
- Multi-annual Indicative Planning Document (MIPD) for Serbia 2009-2011 (DOC, 303 KB)
IPA Programmes per component
Multi-annual Cross-border co-operation programme with neighbouring Candidate or Potential Candidate Countries 2007-2013