Brussels, 14 July 2010
Iceland to receive pre-accession funding
Today the amended Regulation on the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) entered into force, including Iceland as a beneficiary of pre-accession funding. Iceland is now eligible for financial assistance from the EU to prepare for EU membership, like all other enlargement countries. Taking effect immediately, IPA will provide funding primarily to strengthen institutional and legislative capacity for the implementation of EU law (the 'acquis').
Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner Stefan Füle stated: "This decision underlines our commitment to support Iceland's accession process. We encourage the country to do what it takes to ensure a successful accession to the European Union."
The amendment to the IPA regulation, co-signed on 16 June by the Presidents of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, now enters into force and ensures Iceland will be able to receive targeted assistance during the accession process. To support Iceland in meeting the requirements for membership, IPA will be directed towards activities for the further alignment of Iceland's legislation with the EU acquis. Financial assistance will also be provided to prepare for the use of EU Structural Funds upon accession and to inform the Icelandic public about the EU and its policies.
The focus of existing IPA programmes will in Iceland's case be on areas such as statistics and preparation for participation in EU agencies, whereas technical assistance through the TAIEX instrument will principally take the form of workshops, study visits and expert missions.
In 2007, the IPA replaced various pre-accession programmes supporting candidate countries in their preparation for EU membership. Through IPA, the EU provided support in areas such as strengthening the democratic institutions and the rule of law, reforming public administration and the economy, promoting respect for human as well as minority rights and gender equality, supporting the development of civil society and advancing regional co-operation. It has also contributed to sustainable development and poverty reduction.