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A pre-accession strategy establishes a framework for candidate countries to follow as they bid to become members of the European Union. A strategy lays down the procedures and priorities that all candidates must attend to as they undertake 'structured dialogue' with the EU institutions.
Strategies are tailored to the needs of each aspiring EU member through the use of the following instruments and processes:
- Bilateral agreements that govern the relationship between candidate countries and the EU.
- High-level political dialogue between national governments and the EU.
- Accession partnerships that set out the priority areas in which candidate countries must make progress and also outline the available financial support.
- National Programmes for the Adoption of the Acquis (NPAA). Each candidate country must draw up an NPAA that provides details, timetables and costings showing how they intend to meet the EU's common rights and obligations.
- Participation in EU programmes, agencies and committees helps candidates to become familiar with EU policies and instruments.
- Pre-accession aid is available to support the entire process.