The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) is the new key tool of the European Commission’s (EC) pre-accession strategy. IPA is a result of the Commission’s reform of the External Aid and Relations Regulatory Framework proceeded during the preparation of the New Financial Perspective 2007-2013 by creating a sole pre-accession instrument for the 2007 to 2013 period, and replacing the amalgam of previous individual aid programmes such as PHARE, ISPA, SAPARD, CARDS and the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance for Turkey. IPA was established with EC Council Regulation No. 1085/2006 of 17 July 2006 (IPA Framework Regulation), while the IPA implementing rules were established with EC Commission Regulation No. 718/2007 of 12 June 2007 (IPA Implementing Regulation). The main objective of IPA is to assist the countries in their progressive alignment with the standards and policies of the European Union, including where appropriate the acquis communautaire, with a view to future membership. IPA will thus help these countries to meet the Accession Criteria and to fulfill the Copenhagen political, economic and acquis-related criteria for membership thereby enhancing their administrative capacity and prepare for the programming, management and implementation of EU Cohesion, Structural and Rural Development Funds after accession.