The set of various twinning cooperation agreements supported the successful preparation for EU membership. Twinning as the principal tool of pre-accession assistance for institutional capacity building is an initiative of the European Commission that was launched in May 1998. Twinning aims to help the candidate countries in their development of modern and efficient administrations, with the structures, human resources and management skills to implement the 'acquis communautaire' to the same standards as EU Member States.
The PHARE programme of 1998 provided the State Audit Office of Hungary (SAO) with a financial assistance to implement its institutional capacity building projects. The SAO utilised the granted resources between 1999-2001, in cooperation with the SAIs of the United Kingdom, Bavaria and Denmark. The main objective of this cooperation was to help SAO auditors to get acquainted with and adapt audit methods applied in the European Union, in particular the methods of modern financial audit and performance audit. Signing the Twinning Covenant was a strategic decision from the SAO's part, by which the institution unequivocally committed itself to the Anglo-Saxon type audit practices.
Within the framework of the twinning programme, audit procedures and methods were modernised in compliance with the internationally accepted audit standards and practices, the SAO's field manuals on financial and performance audit were elaborated, and the majority of SAO auditors and auditors of the public sector (in particular from ministries) participated in trainings introducing the new audit approach.
The twinning programme also covered the introduction of practices concerning the audit of contributions to the EU budget, furthermore different types of support granted from EU funds (Agricultural, Structural, and Cohesion Funds).