Since its establishment, the European Union (EU) provides financial assistance to member states, candidate countries and third countries based on its founding treaties. Substantial amount of funds are provided in the form of grants or loans to the beneficiary countries through this assistance aiming to achieve EU's various objectives. The main aim of this financial assistance is to structurally prepare the candidate country to EU membership.
Therefore, the pre-accession assistance to be provided to candidate and potential candidate countries has the goal of converging the countries' existing legal and institutional infrastructure to EU standards and practices.
The European Union have been putting in place various pre-accession assistance programmes to prepare the candidate and potential candidate countries for membership or to minimize development disparities among regions.
Different programmes were implemented before 2007 that prepared the foundation for the current financial assistance programme, which is called IPA:
• PHARE1 (Coordinated Support for the Reconstructuring of Economics of Poland and Hungary),
• SAPARD2 (Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development), and
• ISPA3 (Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession-Katılım Öncesi Yapısal Politikalar İçin Destek Aracı) assumed important roles.
• CARDS (Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Development and Stability in the Balkans)
After the implementation of these programmes, the European Commission decided that the framework of financial assistance provided to candidate and potential candidate countries should be regulated under a new instrument for the period 2007–2013. Experience from the implementation of previous instruments for pre-accession assistance was taken into account in the preparation of this new financial instrument. In this scope, financial assistance through instruments such as PHARE, ISPA and SAPARD, which involved different implementation mechanisms, were consolidated into the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA).
For further information please visit http://www.ab.gov.tr/index.php?p=5&l=2
 Council Regulation (EEC) No 3906/89 of 18 December 1989 on Economic Aid to the Republic of Hungary and the Polish People's Republic
 Council Regulation (EC) No 1268/1999 of 21 June 1999 on Community support for pre-accession measures for agriculture and rural development in the applicant countries of central and eastern Europe in the pre- accession period
 Council Regulation (EC) No 1267/1999 of 21 June 1999 establishing an Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-accession