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The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia applied for EU membership in March 2004. The Commission issued a favourable opinion in November 2005, and the Council decided in December 2005 to grant the country candidate status. In October 2009, the Commission recommended that accession negotiations be opened.
The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) is the means by which the EU supports reforms in the 'enlargement countries' with financial and technical help. The IPA funds build up the capacities of the countries throughout the accession process, resulting in progressive, positive developments in the region. For the period 2007-2013 IPA had a budget of some € 11.5 billion; its successor, IPA II, will build on the results already achieved by dedicating € 11.7 billion for the period 2014-2020.
EU pre-accession funds are a sound investment into the future of both the enlargement countries and the EU itself. They help the beneficiaries make political and economic reforms, preparing them for the rights and obligations that come with EU membership. Those reforms should provide their citizens with better opportunities and allow for development of standards equal to the ones we enjoy as citizens of the EU. The pre-accession funds also help the EU reach its own objectives regarding a sustainable economic recovery, energy supply, transport, the environment and climate change, etc.
Prepared in partnership with the beneficiaries, IPA II sets a new framework for providing pre-accession assistance for the period 2014-2020.
The most important novelty of IPA II is its strategic focus.are the specific strategic planning documents made for each beneficiary for the 7-year period. These will provide for a stronger ownership by the beneficiaries through integrating their own reform and development agendas. A Multi-Country Strategy Paper will address priorities for regional cooperation or territorial cooperation.
IPA II targets reforms within the framework of pre-defined sectors. These sectors cover areas closely linked to the enlargement strategy, such as democracy and governance, rule of law or growth and competitiveness. This sector approach promotes structural reform that will help transform a given sector and bring it up to EU standards. It allows a move towards a more targeted assistance, ensuring efficiency, sustainability and focus on results.
IPA II also allows for a more systematic use of sector budget support. Finally, it gives more weight to performance measurement: indicators agreed with the beneficiaries will help assess to what extent the expected results have been achieved.
Implementation of IPA 2007-2013 is still underway.
It was designed to provide financial assistance through five channels (known as "components"): transition assistance and institution building, cross-border cooperation (CBC), regional development, human resource development and rural development.
The IPA Regulation for the period 2007-2013 expired on 31 December 2013.
Funding allocation2014-2017: €165.8 million (not including the allocation for Cross-border Cooperation)
Thepriority sectorsfor funding in this period are:
$1· Democracy & governance
Strengthening democratic institutions and reforming the civil service – in particular by improving economic governance, public financial management, and public service delivery, and fighting corruption.
$1· Rule of law & fundamental rights
Improving the judiciary (independence, impartiality, efficiency, accountability) and fighting corruption and organised crime; prosecuting war crimes; reforms tackling shortcomings in protecting fundamental rights and minorities.
$1· Competitiveness & innovation
Better policy-making and implementation of reforms in the area of economic governance, competitiveness and human resources development.
$1· Education, employment & social policies
Reforming labour market institutions (e.g. employment protection, unions, wage-setting) and developing active labour market measures; reforming the education system; further developing the coordinated needs-based approach to social services.
$1· Other sources of information
$1o European Union
$1o Bosnia and Herzegovina
$1o International Financial Institutions
Total EU assistance in2014-2020– €2.9 billion *
*includes €542 million in unallocated funds for Bosnia & Herzegovina
The multi-country programme helps meet the targets identified in the Country Strategy Papers, albeit through different means. In line with the Multi-country Indicative Strategy Paper 2014-20 , the programme provides assistance through4 multi-country channelsthat provide a viable complement to national assistance:
A) Horizontal support
This makes available the know-how of EU and international organisations and best practices, including for evidence-based policy making (statistical cooperation), thereby helping improve the formulation and implementation of national sector policies and the related reform strategies. And it provides support across the region to strengthenand ensure free and independent media, as well as building capacity and promoting mobility in higher education and for young people, by contributing to the Erasmus+ Programme.
B) Regional structures & networks
Promotesregional cooperation,networkingand sharing of best practice to help IPA II beneficiaries prepare for EU membership, align their national legislation with EU law (acquis) and gradually adapt to EU standards and practices.
Support in this strand will target initiatives like:
$1· Education & Employment Platforms.
C) Regional investment support
Targeting projects with a clearregional dimensionthat help socio-economic development inmore than oneIPA II beneficiary and address in particular investment needs related to:
$1· competitiveness of business
$1· connectivity between beneficiaries and EU countries
$1· environmental protection & climate change mitigation/adaptation.
The main instruments providing such support are:
D) Territorial cooperation
Promoting good neighbourly relations between, and local development in,border regions– through cross-border programmes within the region and countries already in the EU, as well as transnational cooperation programmes and related macro-regional programmes (EU strategies forand for).
Other sources of information
$1o European Union
$1o International Financial Institutions