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Accession partnership

When a country applies to join the EU, an Accession Partnership is agreed between that country and the EU.

The Accession Partnership agreement sets out the following:

  • the areas in which the candidate country needs to make progress in the short and medium term, based on the accession criteria. These areas are identified in the Commission's opinion on that country's membership application;
  • pre-accession assistance which involves financial and technical help to support economic and political reforms in the candidate country, preparing them for the rights and obligations that come with EU membership.

Candidate countries draw up national programmes for the adoption of the acquis (NPAAs). These lay out a timetable for putting the partnership into practice. Candidate countries also prepare action plans aimed at strengthening their administrative and judicial capacities.