The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) provides assistance within the framework of the European Partnership of the potential candidate countries and the Accession Partnership of the candidate countries.

IPA is created as a flexible instrument made up of 5 components, with it's main objective to support institution-building and the rule of law, human rights, including the fundamental freedoms, minority rights, gender equality and non-discrimination, both administrative and economic reforms, economic and social development, reconciliation and reconstruction, and regional and cross-border cooperation.

The IPA programme consists of the following five components:

  1. Assistance in transition and institution building; promotes direct continuation of Phare programme activity, with the exception of Economic and Social Cohesion component >>>
  2. Cross border cooperation; finances common cross-border activities between beneficiary countries as well as member states (e.g. cross border projects between Croatia and Slovenia or Croatia and Italy)
  3. Regional development; promotes integral part continuation of ISPA programme and Economic and Social Cohesion component of Phare programme and finances infrastructural projects of larger extent on the field of environmental protection and transport. Additionally, promotes national competition and equable regional development. This integral part of the IPA programme promotes preparation for European Regional Development Fund, available after entering the EU.
  4. Human resources development; European Social Fund forerunner, promotes social cohesion projects aiming at European Employment Strategy.
  5. Rural development; directly continues on SAPARD programme and allocates financial means for projects implementing agriculture acquis communitaire, as well as promoting rural development.