Accession partnerships are a pre-accession strategy instrument which determines the candidate countries' particular needs on which pre-accession assistance should be targeted and provides a framework for:
- the short and medium-term priorities, objectives and conditions determined for each candidate country on the basis of the accession criteria (Copenhagen criteria) in accordance with the Commission's opinion on its membership application;
- pre-accession assistance.
An accession partnership is established for each candidate country to provide guidance and encouragement during preparations for membership. To this end, each candidate country draws up a National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis (NPAA), which sets out a timetable for putting the partnership into effect. Each candidate country also draws up an action plan for strengthening its administrative and judicial capacities.
The accession partnership may also be revised in the light of new developments, especially any new priorities identified during the pre-accession process.