The European Parliament on Wednesday approved pre-accession funds for the 2021-2027 period.
The €14.2 billion ($16.8 billion) will support candidate and potential candidate countries to better prepare for EU accession and to implement EU-related reforms, the European Parliament said in a press statement.
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey can benefit from the new generation of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III) to implement political, institutional, legal, administrative, social and economic reforms.
IPA III projects will also support climate and environmental protection, human rights and gender equality.
“With IPA III and its historic budget of more than 14 billion euros, the EU reaffirms its continued commitment to the path of these countries towards European integration,” said Zeljana Zovko, a Croatian EU lawmaker in charge of the act.
As a major change compared to the previous budgetary cycles, the disbursement of funds can be altered or suspended if the beneficiaries do not comply with EU fundamental values on democracy, rule of law and human rights.
At the same time, the EU will also ensure that the level of assistance does not become disproportionately low, respecting the fair-share principle.
With the European Parliament’s green light, the adoption procedure officially ends. The act on IPA III funds will enter into force retroactively from Jan. 1.