EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Coordination instrument

The European Union wishes to ensure coordination and coherence between the forms of aid granted in the framework of the pre-accession strategy under the Phare programme, the agricultural instrument (SAPARD) and the structural instrument (ISPA).


Council Regulation (EC) No 1266/1999 of 21 June 1999 on coordinating aid to the applicant countries in the framework of the pre-accession strategy and amending Regulation (EEC) No 3906/89.


A key element of the pre-accession strategy, as defined by the Luxembourg European Council, are the Accession Partnerships established by Regulation No 622/98 on assistance to the applicant countries. The Luxembourg European Council also advocated a substantial increase in pre-accession aid so as to include, in addition to the PHARE programme, an instrument for aid to agriculture (SAPARD) and a structural instrument (ISPA) for financing schemes similar to the Cohesion Fund.

In order to prevent duplication, to foster complementarity and to enhance the economic impact of the three different Community measures, the Regulation is aimed at improving coordination between the three instruments.

The three pre-accession instruments and eligible measures

The agricultural pre-accession instrument ( SAPARD ) is intended to finance measures to support agriculture and rural development, as provided for in Article 2 of Regulation (EC) No 1268/1999, with a view to improving farm structures, the processing and marketing of agricultural and fishery products, plant-health and veterinary controls and food quality controls. Integrated rural development measures, including rural infrastructures and agri-environmental measures, are also financed under the instrument.

The structural pre-accession instrument ( ISPA ) , which was established by Regulation (EC) No 1267/1999, is designed to finance investment projects, i.e.:

  • environmental measures enabling the beneficiary countries to comply with the requirements of Community environmental law and with the objectives of the Accession Partnerships;
  • transport infrastructure measures, in particular those that constitute projects of common interest according to the criteria laid down in Council Decision No 1692/96 and those which enable the beneficiary countries to comply with the objectives of the Accession Partnerships. These include measures to ensure the interconnection and interoperability of national networks both with each other and with the trans-European networks, and to provide access to such networks.

The PHARE programme was set up under Regulation (EEC) No 3906/89, as last amended by the present Regulation, which provides that funding under the PHARE programme must focus on the main priorities for the adoption of the Community acquis, i.e. building up the administrative and institutional capacities of the applicant States and financing investment, excluding the types of investment financed under the two instruments mentioned above. The PHARE programme can also be used to finance environmental, transport, agricultural and rural development measures which form an indispensable part of industrial reconstruction or regional development programmes.

Implementing procedures

Only one of the abovementioned instruments may be used to fund a given measure. The financing of schemes or measures is subject not only to compliance with the provisions of this Regulation but also to compliance with the undertakings contained in the Europe Agreements as set out in Regulation (EC) No 622/98 and with the conditions laid down in the Accession Partnerships.

The Regulation also provides that beneficiary States are to contribute to the financing of investments. Schemes or measures financed under the three instruments must comply with the regulations relating to those instruments.

The Commission is responsible for coordinating operations under the three instruments. In particular, it establishes the pre-accession aid guidelines for each country. It is assisted in this task by the PHARE Management Committee set up by Regulation (EEC) No 3906/89 (PHARE).

The Commission informs the Committee of any decisions concerning the indicative financial allocations for each country and per pre-accession instrument and of any measures taken to ensure coordination and coherence between operations undertaken under the three instruments and between the latter and operations funded via the European Investment Bank, other Community financial instruments or international financial institutions. Such decisions are communicated to the Court of Auditors. The Commission and the Court of Auditors may, if necessary, carry out on-the-spot inspections.

Procedure and derogations

Project selection, tendering and contracting by applicant countries is subject to an ex ante assessment procedure by the Commission.

A derogation is, however, possible: the Commission may allow implementing agencies in applicant countries to manage the aid on a decentralised basis. Its decision is based on a case-by-case analysis of national and sectoral programme/project management capacity, financial control procedures and structures regarding public finance.

The decision is subject to the minimum criteria and conditions for decentralised management of aid as set out in the Annex to the Regulation. The derogation must also take account of specific provisions concerning invitations to tender, scrutiny and evaluation of tenders, the award of contracts and the implementation of Community public procurement directives.

The rules governing inspection and evaluation are adopted by the Commission.


The Commission is required to present to the European Parliament and to the Council an annual report on all the pre-accession aid granted to each country.



Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1266/1999 [adoption : consultation CNS/1998/150]



OJ L 161 of 26.06.1999


Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 of 17 July 2006 establishing an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) [OJ L 210 of 31.7.2006]. This Regulation establishes an instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA) for 2007 - 2013 and replaces the gamut of financial instruments in use between 2000 and 2006 for pre-accession needs and the Stabilisation and Association Process. It is intended to provide a simpler and more effective, rationalised framework. The IPA replaces Phare, ISPA, SAPARD, CARDS and some other Regulations.

Last updated: 24.01.2007