European Politics and Institutions

Balkans Forum

The new instrument of Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II): Evaluating the EU’s main financial toolbox for the Balkans

8 November 2016

The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) seeks to help the Balkan aspirants’ reform efforts, preparing them for the rights and obligations affixed to EU membership. The expiry of the 2006 Council regulation covering IPA for the period 2007-2013, and the ensuing need to establish a fresh legal basis, presented the European Commission with the opportunity to upgrade its previous assistance to the Balkans. Hence, the new IPA regulation for 2014-2020 – IPA II – brought a number of changes in order to ensure that the EU pre-accession funds are more closely linked to results on enlargement priorities, such as democracy and governance, rule of law or growth and competitiveness, within the framework of pre-defined sectors in the beneficiary countries and on the basis of a more systematic use of sector budget support. With the IPA mid-term review now coming up in 2017, the time is ripe to revisit the underpinning logic of the IPA II approach. Is the new regulation the right tool to achieve these objectives? How can the instrument be further fine-tuned? Our speakers addressed these and other questions, drawing largely, but not exclusively, on the experience of Serbia and Kosovo.

Speakers included: Corina Stratulat, Senior Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre, David Cullen, Head of Unit for Kosovo and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Directorate General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission, Dennis Wernerus, Auditor, European Court of Auditors, Besa Shahini, Independent Researcher and Policy Analyst, Pristina, Milena Lazarevic, Director of Programme, CEP Belgrade

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