Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

EUR1.43BN QUESTIONABLE

The waverings regarding Bulgaria's accession to the European Union (EU) will hit most strongly agriculture, experts fear. The financial framework our country received for the 2007-2009 period projects EUR1.43BN for the sector, including EUR431MN in the form of direct payments to local farmers. If the accession process is delayed, this may lead to reconsideration of the agreements and even to cancellation of the projected payments. Without that money, however, restructuring and technological renovation of the processing industry and of farms will be difficult to accomplish. And the lack of a competitive agriculture will automatically result in an economic crisis, because a considerable part of the planned export proceeds are to come from sale of agricultural products abroad. Instead of exporting we'll have to import a sizable part of foodstuffs, including meat and sausages. The share of Bulgarian producers on the domestic market will be endangered, too. The financial framework, given by the European Commission, projects EUR388MN for market support of our enterprises (money used for market interventions of field crops, rice, meat and sugar, for export subsidies, and encouragement of growing fresh fruits and vegetables). Without these funds the Bulgarian agricultural production could turn our uncompetitive not only on world markets but even in our country.Under the current situation in the EU, options for reducing the payments for the common agricultural policy are already discussed, even concerning the newly accepted members from Central and Eastern Europe. As far as Bulgaria and Romania are concerned, according to some experts the two countries might be refused money altogether until the big ones in the community reach an agreement about the distribution of funds, earmarked for agriculture (dome 40% of the EU's finances). -каре-WHAT HAVE WE AGREED WITH EU?Bulgaria receives a ceiling of 16,019 cows and calves, for which there will be bonuses in compliance with the common agricultural policy. Additional payments of EUR3.8MN have been agreed for the production of beef and veal. We have a ceiling of 2,058,483 animals in the sheep and goat meat sector, for which additional payments amounting to EUR2.17MN are projected. The signed agreements do not project quotas for the production or direct assistance to pig-breeders due to overproduction of port in the EU. However, export subsidies are paid for pork and market intervention is applied in order to support prices. The situation is th same regarding chicken meat.

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