On Wednesday, Parliament and Council negotiators reached an agreement on the instrument governing the 2021-2027 funding for countries on the path to EU membership.
The co-legislators have agreed on the priorities, objectives and the governance of the modernised Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III) financing. It will be worth 14.2 billion euro and will support the implementation of EU-related reforms in the seven partner countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Turkey.
Stronger conditionality, more impact and visibility by the Parliament
The upgraded pre-accession instrument strengthens conditionality related to democracy, human rights and rule of law, envisaging the suspension of assistance in case of government backtracking in those areas.
The IPA III will step up strategic communication and the fight against disinformation and will contribute to the cross-cutting goals of climate and environmental protection, human rights and gender equality. The revised fund envisages improved donor coordination and enhanced consultations with civil society organisations and local and regional authorities.
During negotiations, the Parliament secured the improved governance of the instrument under the extended use of the delegated acts procedure and an enhanced Geopolitical Dialogue with the European Commission. These mechanisms will enable the Parliament to define the main strategic orientations and scrutinise decisions made as part of the instrument.
The Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs David McAllister (EPP; DE): “A long-awaited political agreement is excellent news for the IPA III beneficiaries and the European Union. It paves the way for improved governance, coherence and transparency of external funding in a period of critical importance for our enlargement policy, in the face of post-pandemic recovery”.
Co-rapporteur Željana Zovko (EPP, HR): “The deal safeguards the continued funding of enlargement policy, the EU's most successful foreign policy tool, underpinned by reconciliation, regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations. The modernised IPA has the capacity to facilitate in-depth reforms in enlargement countries and bring them closer to the EU, including through the ambitious Economic and Investment Plan and the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans”.
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 political agreement will be converted into the final legal text of the Regulation, still subject to formal approval by the European Parliament and the Council. The IPA III is set to be adopted and become law in early autumn.
The first generation of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance was put in place in 2007, followed by IPA II in 2014. The same countries covered by the instrument will also be eligible for funding under the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI/Global Europe).
Additional public and private investment in the region can be mobilised through the EU guarantees under the Western Balkans Guarantee Facility of the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF).