The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) was set up for the period 2007 – 2013 to facilitate the entry of the Candidate Countries, like Croatia, as well as Potential Candidates into the European Union. IPA replaces the CARDS programme and the pre-accession instruments PHARE, ISPA and SAPARD.


The IPA programme is made up of the following five components:

  • IPA Component I – Transition Assistance and Institution Building
  • IPA Component II - Cross-Border Cooperation
  • IPA Component III – Regional Development (IIIA, IIIB, IIIC)
  • IPA Component IV – Human Resource Development
  • IPA Component V – Rural Development 


The Regional Competitiveness Operational Programme is the sub-component IIIC of the IPA Component III – Regional Development


IPA is available to Croatia from 2007 until accession to the EU in July 2013. The total financial value for the six-year period amounts to EUR 11.468 billion.


After accession to the EU in July 2013 the operations under the five Operational Programmes under IPA will be transferred to the five Structural Funds:

  • European Social Fund (ESF)
  • European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
  • Cohesion Fund (CF)
  • European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)
  • European Fishery Fund (EFF)


More about IPA:


 Regional Competitiveness Operational Programme (RCOP)


The IPA component III - Regional Development has three sub-components:

IIIA – Transport

IIIB – Environment

IIIC – Regional Competitiveness Operational Programme (RCOP)


The RCOP has three Priority Axes:


  • Priority Axis 1 - Improvement of the developmental potential of less developed areas
  • Priority Axis 2 - Enhancing the competitiveness of Croatian economy
  • Priority Axis 3 - Technical Assistance


The total budget for this programme amounts to EUR 96,82 million until July 2013 (85% EU funding and 15% national co-financing). 


 The implementation scheme of the Regional Competitiveness Operational Programme (RCOP)


Programming, management and implementation of projects under the RCOP are structured hierarchically on several levels, as the following scheme illustrates: