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IP/00/1009

Brussel, 14 September 2000

Rural development programmes for Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Slovenia endorsed

Six rural development programmes to be co-financed by the EU's pre-accession instrument SAPARD(1) were endorsed in the STAR committee (Committee on agricultural structures and rural development). They cover Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Slovenia. Welcoming the vote of the first set of programmes, EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, Franz FISCHLER said "Our objective is to channel funds to the applicant countries as fast as possible so that projects can get under way. The programmes outline how the agriculture and the agri-food sectors in the applicant countries are preparing for integration into the EU. The measures envisaged will play a key part in the adoption the "acquis" and help strengthen competitiveness in the run up to accession." 520 million EURO per year are earmarked for pre-accession aid under SAPARD. To safeguard the budget appropriation for the year 2000, Commissioner Fischler recalled that one more essential requirement remained to be satisfied after adoption of the Programmes, namely to draw-up the Multi-annual Financing Agreements. Thereafter the transfer of funds would be possible after Commission approval of the accreditation of the SAPARD agencies and conclusion of the Multi-annual and annual Financing Agreements.

What is SAPARD?

SAPARD was created to support the efforts being made by the Central and Eastern European applicant countries in the pre-accession period as they prepare for their participation in the common agricultural policy and the single market. The approach involves the delegation of substantial responsibility to the candidate countries regarding the management of EU funds for rural development and decentralised programming. This will give the future members an opportunity to gain experience in applying the mechanisms involved in rural development programmes. It will equally ease the management of the large number of small projects envisaged under SAPARD. The Regulation implementing SAPARD(2) adopted by the Commission on December 22, 1999 sets out the conditions for assistance in the areas eligible for expenditure such as investment in agricultural holdings and processing and marketing of products.

The overall budget in each year of the programme's seven-year run (2000-06) amounts to 520 million Euro, with the following indicative allocations:

SAPARD: annual indicative budget allocations (in million Euro, at constant 1999 prices)

Bulgaria

CzechEstoniaHungaryLithuaniaLatviaPolandRomaniaSloveniaSlovakiaTotal
52,12422,06312,13738,05429,82921,848168,683150,6366,33718,289520,000

Requirements for implementation of the SAPARD programme

For committing the funds

1. The programmes voted today will have to be formally adopted by the Commission.

    2. The Multi-annual Financing Agreements which lay down the detailed provisions for delegation of the management of the programme to the SAPARD agencies in the CEECs must be concluded with the applicant countries.

For transferring the funds in addition

    3. The SAPARD agencies (responsible for paying and implementing the Programmes) must be established and accredited in the applicant countries

4. The annual Financial Memorandum has to be concluded

-----------------

(1) Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development  (2) (EC) No 2759/1999

SAPARD Programme for Poland in 2000-06

Key facts and figures

  • Total area of the country:  312,680 km², of which 59 % is agricultural land.

  • Population: 38.7 million, of which 38.1 % are living in rural areas,

  • Share of agriculture in GDP: 4.9 % (1998)

  • Share of agriculture in total employment: 28 %

  • Share of agri-food processing in GDP: 6 % (1997)

  • Agri-food sector: In 1998 employment in the food-processing sector totalled 3.5% of the total employment in the economy.

  • Annual indicative SAPARD allocation (in million euro at constant 1999 prices): 168,683.

The rural development programme aims to exploit the opportunities available for the farm and food industry in Poland, including agri-tourism development and local product promotion both at home and abroad. It equally strives to address future threats such as lack of access to capital and limited development of infrastructure in rural areas. The programme builds on existing strengths, namely the good climatic conditions for agricultural development, while taking account of current weaknesses such as poor farm structures, overpopulation and low education level.

Priorities for actions selected

The programme is based on two priorities outlined in the Polish plan:

  • Improvement of the market efficiency of the agri-food sector;

  • Improvement of conditions for economic activities and job creation;

The following measures are to be implemented under each priority:

Measure*

Share of SAPARD funds
Priority 1: Improvement of the market efficiency of the agri-food sector 
1. Improvement in processing and marketing of food and fishery products 37.3%
2. Investments in agricultural holdings 17.3%
Priority 2: Improvement of conditions for economic activities and job creation 
3. Development of rural infrastructure   27.3%
4. Diversification of economic activities in rural areas 11.3%
Complementary priority:  Human Capital Enhancement
5. Agri-environmental measures and afforestation (pilot projects)1.9%
6. Vocational training technical assistance (studies, monitoring, information and publicity campaigns)2.1%
7. Technical assistance2.7%

*EU support will cover 75% of total eligible public expenditure

These measures are to contribute to the following strategic objectives:

  • improvement of the economic viability of the Polish agri-food sector in both domestic and international markets;

  • adjustment of the Polish agri-food sector to health, hygiene and quality standards of the Single Market;

  • encouragement of multifunctional rural development, especially via developing technical infrastructure and creating conditions for non-agricultural economic activities in rural areas.

SAPARD Programme for Hungary in 2000-06

Key facts and figures

  • Total area of the country:  93,030 km², of which 67% is agricultural land.

  • Population: 10,044,000, of which 73.5 % are living in rural areas

  • Share of agriculture in GDP: 5.0 % in 1998 (12.5% in 1990)

  • Share of agriculture in total employment: 7.5 % in 1998 (17.5% in 1990)

  • Share of agri-food products in GDP: 4 %

  • Agri-food sector: Food industry in Hungary employs about 3-4% of the total labour force.

  • Annual indicative SAPARD allocation (in million euro at constant 1999 prices): 38,054

The rural development programme aims to exploit the opportunities available for the farm and food industry in Hungary, including a widening market for unique, special and quality products and growing demand for organic products. It equally strives to address future threats such as depopulation and the lack of financial resources in rural areas. The programme builds on existing strengths, such as the highly educated labour force, while taking account of current weaknesses such as too many smallholders with very small and scattered land plots.

Priorities for actions selected

The support provided under SAPARD will focus on the modernisation and restructuring of the agri-food sector and rural areas and contribute to the implementation of the agricultural acquis communautaire. This will be pursued on the basis of the following three major priorities outlined in the Hungarian plan:

  • increasing the competitiveness of agriculture and processing industries,

  • focus on environmental protection aspects,

  • enhancing the adaptation capabilities of rural areas .

These priorities will be implemented through the following measures:

Measure

Share of SAPARD funds
investments in agricultural holdings     28.4%

improvement of processing and marketing of agricultural and fishery products 20.5%

improvement of vocational training1.8%

setting up producer groups  7.3%

pilot actions on agricultural production methods designed to protect the environment and maintain the countryside   4.2%

renovation and development of villages and protection of rural heritage 9%

diversification of economic activities aimed at generating alternative revenues 15.5%

development and improvement of rural infrastructure   12%
technical assistance (studies, monitoring, information and publicity campaigns)1%

*EU support will cover 75% of total eligible public expenditure.

These measures are to contribute to the following objectives:

  • Modernisation of the stock of machines in agriculture; improvement and upgrading of the conditions under which livestock are kept; spreading the application of EU standards on the environment and health, hygiene and animal welfare and increasing the market efficiency of agricultural production.

  • Increase in the proportion of products complying with the requirements for higher quality as well as in the rate of products with higher level of processing; improve the market position of the products concerned.

  • Set up producer groups to make the production of private farms more efficient and more oriented towards high quality products.

  • Dissemination of agri-environmental measures and increase in the proportion of farms shifting to practices that take into account the endowments of the environment and production sites.

  • Upgrading of the food-processing industry to make enterprises more competitive and ready to operate in the EU market.

  • Development of rural infrastructure to improve the living standards and the general conditions of production.

  • Improve the vocational skills of farmers.

National agricultural and rural development plan for Bulgaria in 2000-06

Key facts and figures

  • Total area of the country : 110,910 km², of which 81.4% (90,371 km²) is agricultural land.

  • Population: 8,230,000, of which 43.6% (3,612,794) live in rural areas

  • Share of agriculture in GDP (including forestry and fisheries): 18.7%

  • Share of agriculture (including forestry and fisheries) in total employment: 25.6% in 1998 (17.5% in 1990)

  • Share of agri-food products in GDP: 4%

  • Agri-food sector: In 1999 the sector accounted for 3.8% of GDP, 4% of employment and 10.6% of exports.

  • Annual indicative SAPARD allocation (in million euro at constant 1999 prices): 52.124

The strategic objectives of the programme are as follows:

  • The development of efficient and sustainable agricultural production and of an agri-foodstuffs sector able to attain Community standards, by improving technological infrastructure and market structures and carrying out strategic investment.

  • Sustainable rural development, compatible with the best international environmental practices, by creating alternative employment, economic diversification, and developing and rehabilitating infrastructures.

Priorities of the programme

This programme comprises four priorities, i.e.:

  • Priority 1. Improving agricultural production, the processing and marketing of agricultural and forest products as well as the processing and marketing of fishery products in accordance with the 'acquis communautaire'; the promotion of agricultural methods which do not harm the environment and of environmental protection

  • Priority 2: Integrated rural development aimed at strengthening the economy of rural areas and local authorities

  • Priority 3. - Investment in human resources

  • Priority 4 - Technical assistance

The implementation of each priority will be done by means of the following measures:

Measures*

Share of SAPARD funds
Priority 1
Investments on farms 30.4%

Processing/marketing of agricultural and fishery products 23.2%

Development of farming activities and practices which do not harm the environment 2.4%

Forestry, reafforestation, investments in forestry development and processing/marketing of forest products 8.1%
Creation of producer groups 0.9%
Management of water resources 5.4%
Priority 2 : Integrated rural development aimed at strengthening the economy of rural areas and local authorities
Development and diversification of economic activities, complementary activities and alternative sources of income6.2%

Modernisation and development of villages, protection and safeguarding of the rural heritage and cultural traditions 7.7%

Development and improvement of rural infrastructures 5.6%
Priority 3. - Investment in human resources
Vocational improvements in education 4.3%
Priority 4 - Technical assistance

Technical assistance * * 3.8%
Technical assistance * * * 2.0%

The Community contribution generally covers 75% of total public expenditure

    ** For this measure, the Community contribution can cover up to 100% of the eligible total cost.

    *** For this measure, the Community contribution covers 100% of the eligible total cost.

Agriculture and Rural Development Plan (SAPARD Plan) for the Czech Republic in 2000-06 (Council Regulation (EC) No 1268/1999)

Key facts and figures

  • Total area of the country:  78.866 km², of which 54,3 % is agricultural land and 33,4 % is afforested land.

  • Population: 10.299.125 inhabitants, of which 75,9 % are living in rural regions

  • Share of agriculture in GDP: 1,8 % (1998)

  • Share of agriculture in total employment: 2 %

  • Annual indicative SAPARD allocation (in million euro at constant 1999 prices): 22,063

The rural development programme builds on existing strengths, such as the existence of unique and specific regional products and traditional crafts and well organised micro-regional rural communities, while taking account of current weaknesses. These include poor infrastructure in rural areas compared with urban areas, and insufficient level of conformity to EU standards in certain agricultural sectors, as well as a prevalence of low profitability of farm businesses.

Priorities for actions selected

Based on the national development strategy of agriculture and rural areas and to complement other pre-accession instruments, the Czech Rural Development Plan defines three priorities:

  • Increasing the competitiveness of agriculture and the processing industry

  • Sustainable development of rural areas

  • Technical support (i.e. conditions for efficient utilisation of the programme)

    Measure

Share of total allocation of EU funds
Measures to be realised in order to increase the competitiveness of agriculture and processing industry: (60.5 %)
Investments in agricultural holdings15.8 %
Improving the processing and marketing of agricultural and fishery products16.2 %
Improving the structures for quality control, for the quality of foodstuffs and for consumer protection8.8 %
Land improvement and re-parcelling19.7 %
Measures selected to attain the sustainable development of rural areas: (34.3 %)
Village renewal and development 10.4 %
Rural infrastructure5.2 %
Development and diversification of economic activities, providing for multiple activities and alternative income15.8 %
Agricultural production methods designed to protect the environment and maintain the countryside2.9 %
Technical support (3.1 %)
Improvement of vocational training2.1 %
Technical assistance1.0 %

*EU support will cover 75% of total eligible public expenditure

Objectives to be achieved

The most important tasks for the agricultural sector in the Czech Republic are to assure the introduction of the acquis communautaire in practice, to strengthen competitiveness in primary production and the manufacturing industries, to attain a higher quality of agricultural and food products with higher added value, to finalise restructuring of agricultural and manufacturing plants, and to improve the position of primary agricultural production on the market. A specific task is to create preconditions for clear identification of land ownership and the development of a land market as well as to focus on support of other agriculture functions such as maintaining the landscape and recreation.

The main objective in the field of rural development is to contribute to :

  • - a suitable economic environment for the stability of the population,

  • - the development of small and medium-sized enterprises and

  • - better utilisation of local resources

with the objective of achieving stable income in rural areas, reducing unemployment and making better use of the existing potential for ensuring the vitality and viability of these areas.

Rural Development Plan for European Community Support for Pre-accession Measures in Agriculture and Rural Development in Latvia (SAPARD) in 2000-06

Key facts and figures

Total area of the country:  64 582 km², of which 39 % is agricultural land

  • Population: 2,46 million inhabitants, of which 31% living in rural areas.

  • Share of agriculture in GDP: 7.6% in 1997 (21.3% in 1991)

  • Share of agriculture in total employment: 16.6 % (1998).

  • Share of agri-food processing in GDP: 8-9% over past three years

  • Agri-food sector: In 1998 23% of the population employed in industry were in the food processing sector.

  • Annual indicative SAPARD allocation (in million euro at constant 1999 prices): 21,848

The Latvian programme has two overall objectives; firstly, the implementation of the acquis communautaire concerning the common agricultural policy and related policies; secondly, to develop competitive and sustainable agriculture, strong, sustainable rural communities and diverse and sustainable rural environment.

Three specific objectives

These overall objectives are further divided into specific objectives, the first of which is to increase competitiveness and farming income level and to increase the incomes of agricultural enterprises. This is concentrated in the area of Objective No 1, which focuses on the development of sustainable agriculture. Under Objective No 1, there are two priorities to be addressed using the following measures:

Priority/Measure

Share of SAPARD funds
Priority 1: Investments in agricultural holdings:
Measure 1.1 - Modernisation of agricultural machinery, equipment and construction23%
Measure 1.2 - Afforestation of agricultural land 3%
Measure 1.3 Land reparcelling 2%
Priority 2: Improvement of agricultural and fisheries product processing and marketing
Measure 2.1 - Improvement of agricultural and fisheries product processing and marketing 26%

The second specific objective is to improve infrastructure in the countryside to bring it closer to urban standards and to create employment and a more diverse employment structure in the rural territory. The area of Objective No 2 therefore focuses on integrated rural development and there are two priorities in this field:

Priority/Measure

Share of SAPARD funds
Priority 3 : Development and diversification of economic activities providing alternative income
Measure 3.1 - Development and diversification of economic activities providing alternative income24%
Priority 4: Improvement of general rural infrastructure
Measure 4.1 - Improvement of general rural infrastructure12%

Finally, the third specific objective is to develop and promote the methods designed to protect the environment and maintain the countryside. The area of Objective No 3 therefore focuses on improving the environment and the priority is:

Priority/Measure

Share of SAPARD funds
Priority 5: Environmentally friendly agricultural methods
Measure 5.1 - Organic farming2%
Measure 5.2 - Preservation of biodiversity and the rural landscape1%
Measure 5.3 - Reduction of agricultural run-off1%

Two supporting measures are also included in the plan, namely training (4%) and technical assistance (2%).

For all measures the EU support will cover 75% of the total eligible public expenditure.

Slovenia: Rural Development Plan for 2000-06 (Council Regulation (EC) No 1268/1999)

Key facts and figures

  • Total area of the country:  20,256 km², of which about 43% (data 1996) is agricultural land.

  • Population: 1,982,600, of which 57.3% are living in rural areas.

  • Share of agriculture in GDP: 4.6 % (decreasing)

  • Share of agriculture in total employment: 6.2 % (decreasing)

  • Share of agri-food products in GDP: 3.5-4.5 %

  • Agri-food sector: a total of 18,700 employees in food industry

  • Annual indicative SAPARD allocation (in million euro at constant 1999 prices): 6,337

The rural development programme aims to exploit the opportunities available for the farm and food industry including increasing possibilities for tourism and recreation activities in rural areas. It equally strives to address future threats such as unfavourable conditions for investment in agriculture: expensive loans, low rates of return on capital invested in agriculture. The programme builds on existing strengths, which include the diversity of rural areas, an attractive countryside and diverse rural amenities, while taking account of current weaknesses such as unfavourable production structures (scattered land plots, under-utilised farm labour and mechanisation).

Priorities for actions selected

The Slovenian SAPARD programme is based on the following two priorities:

  • Improvement of production and marketing structures in agriculture and the food-processing industry

  • Economic diversification and improvement of rural infrastructure.

The above mentioned priorities will be implemented through the following measures:

Measures

Share of EU funds in total allocation

Investment in agricultural holdings35%
Processing and marketing of agricultural and fishery products40%
Economic diversification14%
Development and improvement of rural infrastructure10%
Technical assistance1%

*EU support will cover 65% of total eligible public expenditure

These measures are to contribute to the following strategic objectives:

  • Increased competitiveness of the farming and food processing sectors.

  • Improvement of farm incomes.

  • Compliance with EU standards.

  • Creation of additional employment on farms and improvement of the quality of life in rural areas.

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