WHAT IS THE INSTRUMENT FOR PRE-ACCESSION ASSISTANCE-IPA?
The European Union (EU) provides assistance to countries in the process of preparing for EU membership through pre-accession funds to support their political, institutional, social and economic reforms towards membership and to help them achieve Union standards. Initially offered through different Union programmes and financial instruments, these funds were brought together in 2007 under a single instrument and legal framework, the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA). Since then, IPA has become the main financial and technical assistance instrument for the candidate and potential candidate countries to help them attain Union standards. In this framework, IPA serves the purposes of harmonizing the legislation and standards of the countries in the process of preparation for EU accession with the EU legislation and standards, improving the capacity of institutions of the countries in the preparation process to exert such harmonization efforts and implement reforms during the accession process, and finally preparing them for the rights and obligations EU membership brings along.
Turkey is the largest beneficiary of EU support among countries aiming for EU membership.
IPA funds are planned to cover 7-year periods in line with the European Union budget period. Accordingly, IPA I, the first IPA implementation, was conducted during the European Union’s budget period covering the years 2007-2013. For the 2014-2020 period following the first implementation period, the IPA II period was designed with a strategic perspective by considering the experience and outputs achieved during IPA I.
Since 2002, Türkiye, which became a candidate country after the Helsinki Summit in 1999, has been benefiting from EU funds for accession to the Union. From 2002 to 2020, Türkiye has benefited from a total of EUR 9.2 billion in funding resources, with a share of 48.2% in the IPA I period and 25% in the IPA II period, gaining Türkiye the highest share as a beneficiary country out of the total allocation made in this context to countries in the process of preparing for EU membership. Nearly 900 projects have been implemented through this funding, contributing to Türkiye’s administrative and institutional capacity in the process of preparing for EU membership.
IPA continues to provide project-based grants to candidate and potential candidate countries.
The total budget for IPA III for 2021-2027 is set at €14.2 billion. All beneficiary countries benefit from this budget under the “fair share principle”.
IPA NASIL UYGULANIR?
The topics that can be supported by IPA are identified at the beginning of the 7-year budget period in line with the EU’s policies and strategies. Country programmes and project documents on these topics are prepared with strong interlinkages and in consultation with EU authorities. This ensures that each project implemented under IPA serves to defined goals and objectives.
IPA’s implementing rules are individually designated for each period, following a similar process. First, the EU enacts the legal arrangements for the relevant IPA period after which the details of implementation are decided through international agreements signed between Türkiye and the EU.
In addition to the legal arrangements for the implementation of the IPA, Türkiye also needs to have a functioning administrative structure in place. In this context, specific units have been formed in more than 10 institutions and organizations over the years and the duties and responsibilities of each have been defined in detail in the respective circulars and protocols.
IPA financing in Türkiye uses a direct management model, where financing is provided and managed directly by the European Commission, as well as an indirect management model where financing is managed by partner organizations or other relevant and competent institutions outside the European Commission. The prevalence of the two management models in Türkiye shows that the indirect management model is mostly adopted and the task of financing is performed by accredited Turkish institutions that meet all the requirements of the EU regulations for the implementation of the EU budget.
Under the indirect management model, the overall coordination of IPA implementation in Türkiye has been entrusted to the Directorate for EU Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has been designated as the National IPA Coordinator (NIPAC). This responsibility covers all relevant processes from the preparation of the programme to its closure.
The Ministry of Treasury and Finance serves as the National Authorizing Officer and assumes the overall responsibility for the financial management of the IPA funds provided to Türkiye ensuring that expenditures comply with the law and rules in place. The National Authorizing Officer is responsible for the management of IPA accounts and financial transactions and the effective functioning of internal control systems.
The Central Finance and Contracts Unit (CFCU) is responsible for the preparation of budgets, tenders, award of contracts, payments, accounting, and financial reporting services related to procurement under IPA. The other four contracting authorities in charge of budget execution and responsible for multi-annual sectoral operational programs are listed as follows:
The Agriculture and Rural Development Support Institution is responsible for the implementation and payments of the Rural Development Program (IPARD), the Rural Development Component of the IPA, in selected provinces.