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Pre-accession agricultural instrument (SAPARD)
Sapard is a Community framework for supporting sustainable agricultural and rural development in the central and eastern European applicant countries (CEECs) during the 2000-2006 pre-accession process. It is designed to solve problems affecting the long-term adjustment of the agricultural sector and rural areas and to help implement the Community acquis in matters of the common agricultural policy and related policies.
Council Regulation (EC) No 1268/99 of 21 June 1999 on Community support for pre-accession measures for agriculture and rural development in the applicant countries of central and eastern Europe in the pre-accession period [See amending acts]
This Regulation is part of the follow-up to the Commission's " Agenda 2000 " Communication and the conclusions of the Luxembourg European Council, which provided for financial aid for the CEECs in the form of structural and agricultural instruments for the period 2000-2006. Sapard and the other 2000-2006 pre-accession instruments have been replaced for the period 2007-2013 by the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), which is the sole instrument for assisting the candidate countries and the potential candidate countries of the Western Balkans.
Support for agriculture and rural development is focused on the priorities in this sector, and in particular on:
- investment in agricultural holdings;
- improving the processing and marketing of agricultural and fishery products;
- improving structures for quality, veterinary and plant-health controls in the interests of food quality and consumer protection;
- agricultural production methods designed to protect the environment and maintain the countryside;
- development and diversification of economic activities;
- setting up relief and management services for farmers;
- setting up producer groups;
- renovation and development of villages and the protection and conservation of the rural heritage;
- land improvement and re-parcelling;
- establishment and updating of land registers;
- improvement of vocational training;
- development and improvement of rural infrastructure;
- water resources management;
- forestry, including forestation, investments in forest holdings owned by private forest owners and processing and marketing of forestry products;
- technical assistance for the measures covered by this Regulation, including studies to assist with the preparation and monitoring of the programme, information and publicity campaigns;
- designing and implementing local and regional rural development strategies for rural communities in Bulgaria and Romania.
Community action must complement corresponding national actions or contribute to them. The Commission must ensure that the Community measures bring added value to national initiatives and to the achievement of the Regulation's objectives.
Natural and legal persons from the Member States, the candidate countries and the Western Balkan countries are eligible to participate in invitations to tender and contracts.
Rural development measures must be the subject of a plan drawn up at the most appropriate geographical level. Such plans are to be prepared by the competent authorities of the applicant country, cover a period of up to seven years from 1 January 2000 and contain the following information:
- a quantified description of the current situation showing disparities, shortcomings and potential for development, the main results of earlier operations in the same field, the financial resources deployed and any evaluation results available;
- a description of the proposed strategy, its quantified objectives, the chosen priorities and the geographical scope;
- a prior appraisal of the expected economic, environmental and social impact, including effects on employment;
- an indicative overall financial table summarising the national, Community and, where appropriate, private financial resources earmarked for each of the chosen priorities;
- for each year covered by the programming period, an indicative financial profile for each source of programme funding;
- where appropriate, information on any studies, training or technical assistance operations needed for the preparation, implementation or adaptation of the measures concerned;
- the competent authorities and bodies appointed to carry out the programme;
- a definition of "final beneficiaries", i.e. the public or private organisations or enterprises responsible for conducting the operations;
- a description of the measures contemplated for implementing the plans, and in particular aid schemes;
- provisions ensuring proper implementation of the programme, including monitoring, evaluation and the fixing of quantified evaluation indicators, and arrangements for controls and penalties;
- the results of consultations and measures to involve competent authorities and bodies and the relevant economic, social and environmental partners.
Development plans must give priority to measures to improve market efficiency, quality and health standards and measures to maintain jobs and create new employment opportunities in rural areas, with due regard for provisions on the protection of the environment.
Applicant countries should submit their rural development plans within six months of the Regulation's entry into force. On the basis of these plans, the Commission then has six months to approve the individual rural and agricultural development programmes in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 50 of the Regulation laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds. The Commission must also appraise the proposed plan's consistency with the Regulation.
Revision of the programme
The programme may be revised and amended in the light of:
- socio-economic change, new information and the results of the actions concerned;
- measures taken in the context of the accession partnership and the national programme for the adoption of the Community acquis;
- the redistribution of resources following an applicant country's accession to the European Union (Article 15 of the Regulation).
Prior appraisal, monitoring and evaluation
Aid under the Regulation is subject to prior appraisal, on-going monitoring and ex post evaluation. Monitoring is based on specific physical, environmental and financial indicators fixed beforehand, and on annual reports to the Commission from each applicant country.
Measures financed under the Regulation must comply with the commitments given in the accession partnership and be consistent with the principles of the national programme for the adoption of the Community acquis. They must also be consistent with the provisions of the Europe Agreements.
They must also be consistent with the objectives of the common agricultural policy (CAP), especially with regard to the market organisations, and Community structural measures. They must not cause disturbances on the market.
Financial assistance under this Regulation is granted during the period from 2000 to 2006. The annual appropriations are authorised within the limits of the financial perspective. The financial contribution may take the form of advances, part-financing or financing.
Within three months of the adoption of this Regulation, the Commission will inform each applicant country of its decisions concerning the indicative seven-year financial allocation.
The financial allocation is based on:
- farming population,
- agricultural area,
- gross domestic product (GDP) in purchasing power parity,
- specific territorial situation.
Up to 2% of the annual allocation may be used to finance measures taken on the initiative of the Commission for preliminary studies, exchange visits, evaluations and controls.
Rate of contribution
The Community will not normally contribute more than 75% of the total eligible public expenditure. In certain specific cases, it may, however, cover 100% of the total eligible. For revenue-generating investments, public aid may cover up to 50% of the total eligible cost.
Furthermore, Regulation (EC) No 696/2003 increases the natural contribution which may be made to projects to deal with exceptional disasters. This may amount to 85% of total eligible public expenditure or, in the case of revenue-generating projects, 75%.
Financial support is governed by the principles laid down in Regulation (EC) No 1258/1999.
The Commission implements expenditure under this Regulation in accordance with the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities, on the basis of the financing memorandum to be drawn up between the Commission and the applicant country.
Without prejudice to checks carried out by beneficiary countries, the Commission and the Court of Auditors may carry out on-the-spot technical or financial audits.
Reduction, suspension or cancellation of aid
If the implementation of a measure does not appear to justify any part of the finance allocated to it, the Commission examines the case, inviting the country concerned or its competent authorities to submit their comments within a specified period. Following the examination, the Commission may reduce or suspend aid for the measure concerned.
The Commission will adopt detailed rules for the implementation of the Regulation in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 50(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999.
It will also adopt detailed financial implementing rules in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 13 of Regulation (EC) No 1258/1999.
Each year the Commission will report to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on support granted under the Regulation.
Programmes drawn up under the Regulation must be given appropriate publicity in the applicant countries. Such publicity must inform the general public inter alia of the Community's role in the aid.
|Act||Entry into force - Date of expiry||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Regulation (EC) No 1268/99||29.06.1999 - 31.12.2006||-||OJ L 161 of 26.06.1999|
|Amending act(s)||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Regulation (EC) No 696/2003||20.04.2003||-||OJ L 99 of 17.04.2003|
|Regulation (EC) No 769/2004||30.04.2004||-||OJ L 123 of 27.04.2004|
|Regulation (EC) No 2008/2004||28.11.2004||-||OJ L 349 of 25.11.2004|
|Regulation (EC) No 2257/2004||02.01.2005||-||OJ L 389 of 30.12.2004|
|Regulation (EC) No 2112/2005||28.12.2005||-||OJ L 344 of 27.12.2005|
This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.