The pre-accession strategy offers a "structured dialogue" between the candidate countries and the EU institutions throughout the accession process, providing all the parties with a framework and the necessary instruments. It is laid down for each candidate country individually.
The pre-accession strategy follows on from the European Council of Luxembourg (December 1997) during which a reinforced pre-accession strategy for the ten Central and Eastern European candidate countries was launched. It is essentially based on:
- the bilateral agreements;
- the accession partnerships and the national programmes for the adoption of the acquis;
- participation in Community programmes, agencies and committees;
- political dialogue;
- the evaluation of the Commission ("monitoring");
- pre-accession assistance;
- cofinancing by international financial institutions (IFI).
In addition to these main instruments, the pre-accession strategy may include others for individual candidates, depending on their particular circumstances.