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Brussels, 22 October 2002

Green Light for 2002 SAPARD Programmes

The European Commission today adopted a decision which will allow the signing of the Annual Financing Agreements (AFA's) for 2002 with each of the 10 candidate countries(1), for the implementation of the Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (SAPARD). These agreements make the Union's contribution for 2002 available to finance the actions scheduled for 2002 in the SAPARD programmes and adapt the Multi-annual Financing Agreement. The proposal also foresees, inter alia, special provisions for exceptional natural disasters to be included in the agreements. This should enable the EU to respond properly and swiftly to such exceptional natural disasters whenever they occur in candidate countries. "We want to show solidarity and support for the rural community and, in so doing, help make enlargement a real success. Real success will only come, however, when we can improve the lot of the people in the new Member States and have ensured their smooth assimilation into the European family. Therefore, I am delighted that we have the SAPARD programme to provide assistance for rural areas in the candidate countries in advance of accession.", said Commissioner Fischler.

Why was the Commission decision necessary?

As Community legislation is not binding on the 10 candidate countries, the Commission and these countries have to conclude Financing Agreements in order to make available Community funds to the eligible beneficiaries of SAPARD. This Commission Decision authorises the signature of the Annual Financing Agreements for 2002 with each of the candidate countries.

The EU contribution to finance SAPARD programmes in 2002 amount to € 554.5 million (including the transfer of € 9.5 million of technical assistance that were not spent). This amount is allocated (2)between candidate countries as follows:

SAPARD: annual financing agreement table 2002 (in thousands €)


Czech RepublicEstoniaHungaryLithuaniaLatviaPolandRomaniaSloveniaSlovakiaTotal

In the light of the experience acquired from previous years and of the progress in the enlargement strategy, the Multi-annual Financing Agreement was adapted as well.

Compared to the 2000 and 2001 agreements, the main changes for the 2002 agreements are:

  • In order to strengthen the bottom-up approach and to increase the involvement of local bodies such as social partners, NGOs or local representatives on handling SAPARD, the delegation of responsibility for project selection to these entities will be permitted. However, only Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary and Slovenia wish to avail themselves of this possibility. The agreement with the other 6 countries will not include this modification.

  • Under the existing rules, SAPARD did not have any specific provisions relating to actions in the wake of natural disasters. Now, certain provisions permit the Commission to authorise particular actions in the event of an exceptional natural disaster and to allow funds to flow rapidly to the areas where most needed. These provisions are optional to each country and, for reasons of urgency, can be incorporated into the AFA 2001 rather than AFA 2002 for the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

  • The agreement extends the right to participate in invitations to tender and contract under SAPARD to natural and legal persons from Cyprus, Malta and Turkey.

  • A time limit has been introduced within which contracts may be entered into with beneficiaries under this Agreement. This limit goes beyond the envisaged date of enlargement but avoids overlap with rural development programmes after accession.

  • In addition, some changes were made to clarify issues raised by the Candidate Countries, the Commission services or to take account of remarks of the Court of Auditors.


The Special Pre-Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (SAPARD)(3) aims to support the efforts made by the Central and Eastern European Candidate Countries to prepare for their participation in the Common Agricultural Policy and the Single Market. It has two major objectives: first, to implement the "acquis"; second, to solve priority problems in the field of agriculture and rural development. The Multi-annual Financing Agreement (MAFA) lays down the Union's management and control rules for SAPARD for the whole period of the programme (2000-2006) and includes the principle of full decentralisation of programme management, the application of the EAGGF clearance of accounts procedure and differentiated appropriations. An Annual Financing Agreement (AFA) which sets out the Union's financial commitment to each candidate country must be signed yearly with each of the 10 SAPARD beneficiary countries.

More information on SAPARD can be found at:

(1)Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia

(2)In accordance with the Commission Decision of 20 July 1999 on the indicative allocation of the annual Community financial contribution to pre-accession measures for agriculture and rural development EC No 595/1999.

(3)provided for in Council Regulation EC No. 1268/1999

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