THE BULGARIAN SAPARD AGENCY ACCREDITED BY EU
Bulgaria is the first of the 10 countries bidding for EU membership to be allowed to administer financial assistance provided under the SAPARD programme, the Agriculture Ministry announced.
EU farming commissioner Franz Fischler signed Tuesday in Brussels the accreditation of the State Agriculture Fund as the agency on the implementation of SAPARD in Bulgariaq said the Ministry in a press release.
For the first time in its 50-year history, the EU delegates the right to manage money from EU funds to a non-EU member. The Bulgarian farming sector will get 53.260 million euros from the EU annually till 2007. Bulgaria was the first candidate member to sign in December 2000 a financial agreement with the European Commission on the disbursement of SAPARD funding. A one-year financial agreement was signed a year ago on SAPARD which was the last administrative act required before the funding was made available. The measures which will mark the beginning of the programme are aimed entirely at the private sector. They will be taken in four directions: investment in farms, improving the processing and marketing of agricultural and fish products, developing and diversifying economic activities through alternative employment and creating producers' associations.
The SAPARD subsidies which will be provided to farmers will amount to 50 per cent of an already completed project.