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Prague, 17 October 2003

“Don't reopen accession deal”, EU Commissioner Fischler says in Prague

Speaking during an official visit in Prague today, Franz Fischler, EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries commended the excellent co-operation between the Czech authorities and the Commission in the run up to the Czech accession. “I would also like to congratulate the Czech Republic for the good uptake of Sapard funds. This will allow the Czech agricultural sector to prepare for accession. », Fischler continued. But he also urged the Czech Republic to speed up preparations. « The Czech Republic needs to prepare its administration. We are concerned about the Czech Paying Agency in agriculture. Its effective functioning of this Agency is of paramount importance. The bulk of support to the agriculture sector will have to flow via this agency. The potential financial consequences would be severe, if the relevant EU Regulations on Paying Agencies were not satisfactorily implemented on time”, he stressed.

Mr Fischler further explained that the EU had just decided to fundamentally reform its farm policy. These reforms will encourage farmers to better fulfil consumer needs, make farmers more market-oriented and they should reduce the red tape for farmers. However, the new policy cannot be implemented directly in the new Member States. Therefore, the Commission will shortly detailed proposals so that the reformed Common Agricultural Policy can be implemented in the new Member States.

“These Commission proposals will be well balanced. They will maximise the advantages of Membership for the acceding countries while remaining strictly within the limits of the agreements reached during the accession negotiations. The package agreed during the negotiations are maintained, and applied to any new element. There is no 'erosion' of the terms of accession negotiated by the acceding countries. In other words: The CAP Reform discussion is not an occasion to reopen the accession deal of Copenhagen”, Mr Fischler concluded.

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