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IPA III: the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (2021–2027)



Regulation (EU) 2021/1529 establishing the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III)


The regulation establishes the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III) for the period of the 2021–2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF).

It sets out:

  • the policy’s general and specific objectives;
  • the size, form and rules of European Union (EU) funding.



  • covers Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey (Annex I);
  • has the general objective of helping the IPA III beneficiaries align themselves with EU rules, standards, policies and practices to prepare for EU membership by promoting political, institutional, legal, administrative, social and economic reforms;
  • identifies specific aims to:
    • strengthen the rule of law, democracy, human rights and economic and social development,
    • reinforce effective public administration, structural reforms and good governance,
    • shape rules, standards, policies and practices,
    • promote environmental protection and a low-carbon economy,
    • support territorial cohesion and cross-border cooperation;
  • contains 20 thematic priorities, ranging from gender equality and quality employment to smart transport and safe food and water supplies (Annex II);
  • must provide synergy with, complement and be consistent with other EU internal and external policies and funding;
  • operates within the EU’s overall enlargement policy framework.

The budget for the 7-year programme is €14.162 billion. The funds may be used for:

  • preparation;
  • monitoring;
  • control;
  • audit;
  • evaluation; and
  • corporate information technology systems.

Finance to beneficiaries is based on:

  • an IPA programming framework, which contains the annual expenditure that the European Parliament and Council of the European Union authorise and takes account of national strategies and sectoral policies;
  • performance (Annex IV contains a list of key indicators) and fair share principles, and is targeted and adjusted to specific situations.

Cross-border cooperation projects benefit from up to 3% of the total budget with a maximum EU contribution of 85%.

EU Member States, IPA III beneficiaries, countries in the European Economic Area and the Neighbourhood Area (Annex I of Regulation (EU) 2021/947 — see summary) are all eligible for funding.

IPA III beneficiaries may obtain finance from the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus and the External Action Guarantee (under Regulation (EU) 2021/947).

Recipients of IPA III support must acknowledge the origin, and ensure the visibility, of the funding.

The European Commission:

  • may adopt implementing and delegated acts;
  • is assisted by a committee for the IPA and advised by a strategic board for the western Balkans.

Supplementing act

Regulation (EU) 2021/1529 was supplemented by Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/2128.

Implementing acts

Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/2236 lays down specific rules to ensure uniform implementation of IPA III assistance for IPA III beneficiaries. It also sets specific rules for cross-border cooperation and for agriculture and rural development assistance.


It has applied since 1 January 2021.


IPA III ensures continuity with IPA II, which ran from 2014 to 2020. It complements the almost €80 billion Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument established under Regulation (EU) 2021/947.

For further information, see:


Regulation (EU) 2021/1529 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 September 2021 establishing the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III) (OJ L 330, 20.9.2021, pp. 1–26).


Regulation (EU) 2021/947 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 June 2021 establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument — Global Europe, amending and repealing Decision No 466/2014/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Regulation (EU) 2017/1601 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 480/2009 (OJ L 209, 14.6.2021, pp. 1–78).

Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) 2021/947 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/2128 of 1 October 2021 supplementing Regulation (EU) 2021/1529 of the European Parliament and of the Council, as regards setting out certain specific objectives and thematic priorities for assistance under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III) (OJ L 432, 3.12.2021, pp. 8–12).

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/2236 of 15 December 2021 on the specific rules for implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/1529 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III) (OJ L 450, 16.12.2021, pp. 10–20).

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

last update 01.12.2021