- The EESC welcomes the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III) for the period 2021-2027. The EESC also welcomes the statement that IPA III should put performance at the core of the instrument thus allowing greater steering in overall funding allocations reflecting beneficiaries commitments and progress towards reforms. The use of performance indicators will contribute to the overall assessment of IPA III and is in accordance with its former recommendations for IPA II.
- The EESC welcomes the fact that the financial reference provided for under the draft Regulation on IPA III for the period 2021 to 2027 will be approximately EUR 14,5 billion. The EESC welcomes the fact that IPA III introduces more flexibility by not establishing partner allocations from the outset. The IPA programming framework should be based on evolving needs and ensure a balance between predictability and performance-based funding.
- The EESC underlines the importance of Pre-accession Assistance in furthering economic reforms and creating a favourable and predictable business environment in order to foster entrepreneurship, business creation and help SMEs grow. The EESC stresses the importance of Economic Reform Programmes (ERPs) and of a meaningful involvement of social partners and other CSOs in the process of development and implementation of these programmes.
- The EESC embraces the view that the progress of the IPA beneficiaries towards reforms is essential for the absorption and the exploitation of these funds and emphasises the need to reinforce a culture of cooperation between the Western Balkan beneficiaries.
- The EESC underlines the need to use Pre-accession Assistance to increase the capacity of the administration of candidates and potential candidates in order to prepare them for the future usage of structural funds and for participation in the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
- The EESC believes that IPA III should be used to increase the understanding of fundamental EU values as well as to promote the added value of Pre-accession Assistance amongst the general population in the candidates and potential candidates.