Brussels, 22 November 2000
Euro 150 million Rural development programme for Romania endorsed
A euro 150 million rural development programme for Romania, co-financed by the EU has been endorsed. The allocated funds will be used for measures such as, processing and marketing of agricultural and fishery products, water supply management, agri-environmental measures, setting up producer groups and vocational training. All ten programmes submitted by the Central and Eastern European countries have now been approved by the STAR Commitee(2). Welcoming the endorsement of the program for Romania, Franz Fischler, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, said "The candidate countries have made immense efforts to have their programmes approved. This is concrete evidence of their dedication to preparing for enlargement. The agricultural sector and rural areas in these countries can only profit from these programmes, which aim to make agriculture more competitive and to help implement the body of EU legislation." A number of further steps remain to be completed before the SAPARD funds can be committed and transferred.
Requirements for implementation of the SAPARD programmes
For committing funds:
1. The programme voted today will have to be formally adopted by the Commission.
2.The Multi-annual Financing Agreements, which lay down detailed provisions for delegating the management of the programme to the SAPARD agencies in the CEECs, must be agreed with the applicant countries, and the Commissioner responsible must have authorisation to sign.
For transferring funds:
3. The SAPARD agencies (responsible for payments and programme implementation) must be set up and accredited in the applicant countries.
4. The multi-annual and annual Financial Memorandum must be finalised.
Background: What is SAPARD?
SAPARD was created to support the efforts made by the Central and Eastern European applicant countries in the pre-accession period as they prepare for participation in the common agricultural policy and the single market. The approach involves the delegation of substantial responsibility to the applicant countries for the management of EU funds for rural development and decentralised programming.
This provides an opportunity for the future members to gain experience in applying the mechanisms of rural development programmes. It will also ease the management of the large number of small projects contemplated under SAPARD. The Regulation implementing SAPARD(3), adopted by the Commission on 22 December 1999, sets out the conditions for assistance in the areas eligible for expenditure such as investment in agricultural holdings and in processing and marketing of products.
The overall budget for each year of the seven-year programme (2000-06) amounts to EUR 520 million, with the following indicative allocations:
(1) Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development
(2) Programmes for Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Latvia and Bulgaria were approved in the STAR Committee on 14 September 2000. Those for Lithuania, Estonia and Slovakia were approved on 24 October.
(3) Regulation (EC) No 2759/1999
Romania's national agricultural and rural development plan for 2000-06
Strategic objectives of the programme:
1. to enable Romania to apply the body of existing EU rules and regulations on the common agricultural policy, environmental protection and related policies in the fields of food standards and consumer protection, public health, animal health and welfare, and plant health;
2. to commit Romania to environmental protection by transposing into national law, and applying, the "nitrates" Directive, the Natura 2000 programme and the "environmental impact" Directive (Annexes I and II);
3. to overcome the main obstacles specifically hampering sustainable adjustment of the agricultural sector and rural areas through:
The programme comprises four priorities:
Priority 1: to improve access to markets and to enhance the competitiveness of processed agricultural and fishery products;
Priority 2: to improve agriculture and rural development infrastructure;
Priority 3: to develop the rural economy;
Priority 4: to develop human resources.
The priority aims will be achieved by means of the following measures:
* As a rule, the Community contributes 75% of public expenditure.