Co-rapporteur for IPA III Željana Zovko thanks the Committee on Foreign Affairs for adopting the new Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance
Brussels, 1 July 2021
Today the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the European Parliament adopted the provisional agreement on the third generation of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance – IPA III. This instrument is the main source of financial assistance for the European integration of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia. As co-rapporteur on the file, Željana Zovko represented the European Parliament in the negotiations. She stressed that with this new regulation, the EU reconfirms its continued support for the European perspective of these beneficiaries.
Zovko explained that IPA III will assist the Western Balkans and Turkey with institutional, legal, administrative and socio-economic reforms that lead to compliance with EU values, standards and policies. The instrument enables further investments in infrastructure, environment, digitalization and connectivity and boosts the stability and prosperity of the region. Zovko stressed that by financing these transformative processes in the Western Balkans and Turkey, the EU also invests in its own peace and security.
“Based on the mandate that we received from the European Parliament, I ensured as co-rapporteur, together with Tonino Picula, that the regulation of IPA III is an improvement compared to its predecessors”, Zovko said, adding that the instrument will contain an increased budget of more than 14 billion euro.
She also highlighted that the implementation of the regulation will follow a policy-driven and performance-based approach, which stimulates the beneficiaries to take more ownership of the integration process. On the other hand, the EU is able to modulate financial allocations in case of significant regression or a persistent lack of progress.
Zovko pointed out that more than ever, the European Parliament will be involved in the governance and monitoring of IPA III, through the use of delegated acts and via a newly established geopolitical dialogue with the Commission on the implementation of the programming.
Another achievement Zovko underlined are the considerably enhanced visibility requirements. “In the past, the EU often failed to showcase its support to the Western Balkans and Turkey and disinformation campaigns undermined our efforts. With IPA III, recipients need to highlight European assistance in their communication on funded projects to improve public awareness and boost the added value of European assistance and the credibility of the EU in the region,” Zovko stated.
She added that through these new communication measures, the EU should actively invest on a strategy to promote the benefits of EU membership in the Western Balkans. “European integration of these countries is a key priority of our foreign policy but the accession of the candidate and potential candidate countries remains the final goal. With IPA III, we enable the means to assist the region throughout this process.” Zovko concluded.