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Chapter 7 - Agriculture
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December 2004


Agriculture is the largest of the negotiation chapters. With the exception of the field of veterinary and phytosanitary legislation it consists mostly of regulations and the legislation will therefore be directly applicable at the date of accession and does not call for transposition on the part of the candidate countries. The emphasis in the preparations for accession will therefore be on the candidate country's ability to implement and enforce the Community acquis. In the veterinary and phytosanitary fields Community legislation consists mostly of directives. The full transposition of the acquis into national legislation is therefore a substantial task for the candidate countries.

State of play:

Negotiations on the agriculture chapter with Bulgaria and Romania were concluded in June 2004.

Negotiations were already concluded with Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia in December 2002. These 10 countries acceded to the EU in May 2004.

As matter of principle, the same strategy was applied for Bulgaria and Romania in the negotiations as with the 10 new Member States.

The key agreements reached in the negotiations with these countries are summarised below:

Financial and market related aspects of agriculture

  • The 10 new member states will gradually phase in EU agricultural direct payments between 2004 and 2013. Direct payments will start at 25% in 2004, 30% in 2005 and 35% in 2006 of the present system and increase by 10 percentage steps to reach 100% of the then applicable EU level in 2013. Bulgaria and Romania, joining the EU in 2007, will have equivalent treatment and will phase in direct payments starting at 25% in 2007 to reach 100% in 2016.
  • Within carefully defined limits, all new member states will have the option to "top-up" these EU direct payments with national subsidies.

In 2004-2006 (2007-2009 for Bulgaria and Romania), a new member state has the possibility to top up EU direct payments to

  • either 55% of EU level in the years 2004 (2007 for Bulgaria and Romania), 60% in 2005 (2008 for Bulgaria and Romania) and 65% in 2006 (2009 for Bulgaria and Romania). From 2007 (2010 for Bulgaria and Romania) the new member state may top-up EU direct payments by 30 percentage points above the applicable phasing-in level in the relevant year;
  • or to the total level of direct support the farmer would have been entitled to receive, on a product by product basis, in the new member state prior to accession under a like national scheme increased by 10 percentage points;

In no case should the payment be higher than 100% of EU-15 level of direct payments.

  • Rather than applying the standard direct payment scheme applicable in the current EU, the new member states have the option, during a limited period, of granting their farmers CAP direct payments in the form of a decoupled area payment (a simplified payment scheme). An annual financial envelope will be calculated for the new member state according to agreed criteria and then divided between the utilised agricultural area.
  • The new member states will have special additional financial aid for rural development for a limited period. This includes a higher proportion of EU co-financing in rural development projects.
  • Certain rural development measures have been adapted or created in order to reflect better the requirements of the new member states in the first years of accession. This means that for a limited period, new member states will be able to use rural development funds for schemes specifically designed to help restructuring of the rural sector. For example, there is support for semi-subsistence farms undergoing restructuring as well as specific measures to assist farmers in meeting EU standards.
  • Reference quantities (eg quotas, base areas) have been agreed for all the applicable products on the basis of recent production and taking into account country specific circumstances (eg drought).
  • In a few specific instances, transitional periods were agreed for the adoption and implementation of certain parts of EU legislation. These transitional periods are exceptional and limited in time and in scope.

Veterinary and phytosanitary aspects of agriculture

  • Certain food establishments have been granted a transitional period in order to upgrade to fully meet EU requirements. These include 52 premises in the Czech Republic, 54 in Hungary, 97 in Latvia, 57 in Lithuania, 7 in Malta, 721 in Poland, 56 in Romania, 5 in Slovenia and 12 in Slovakia. Bulgaria was granted a transitional period for 100 milk establishments allowing them to process EU non-compliant raw milk. All transitional periods are limited in time and scope and do not involve any exemption from food hygiene legislation. During the transitional period, products which come from these establishments must be specially marked and cannot be marketed in any form in other EU countries.
  • All establishments not subject to a transitional period will have to comply with the acquis on accession and their products will be able to be freely marketed within the EU.
  • Certain establishments have been granted a transitional period in order to upgrade to fully meet structural requirements for hen cages (only the slope and height of the cages). Such transitional periods are limited in time and scope and are applicable in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Poland and Slovenia.
  • There are also transitional periods in the field of phytosanitary legislation for Lithuania and Poland (potato ring rot and potato wart disease respectively) as well as transitional periods on certain parts of seed quality legislation for Malta, Cyprus, Latvia and Slovenia. Again, these transitional periods are limited in time and scope.


The Commission has been closely monitoring how candidate countries are meeting the commitments made in the accession negotiations and regularly assesses the candidate countries' progress in preparing for accession. The latest assessment of each candidate country's compliance with the acquis under this chapter heading, can be found in the 2003 Comprehensive Report for the 10 new Member States and the Regular Report for Bulgaria and Romania.

It is very important that the commitments undertaken by the future member states in the framework of the accession negotiations be implemented as foreseen. Consequently, the Commission will continue to monitor the progress of the candidate countries up to accession and will prepare progress reports to assess each candidate country's compliance with the acquis. For the veterinary and phytosanitary part of the chapter, input from the Food and Veterinary Office of the Commission will play a substantial part in this monitoring exercise. Specific targeted actions such as peer reviews, technical meetings, workshops, seminars and questionnaires will continue to be used in specific fields until accession. Six months before accession, the Commission will produce a comprehensive Monitoring Report which will look at all commitments made by each of the acceding countries.

After accession, the Commission will continue to check how the acquis is implemented by the new member states, using the same mechanisms as those applied to the existing member states.

Content of agriculture chapter

The negotiation chapter for agriculture covers the following main fields:

Horizontal issues

Agriculture Guarantee and guidance funds
Trade mechanisms
Quality policy
Organic farming
Farm Accountancy Data Network
State aids

Common Market Organisations

Arable crops
Cereals, oilseeds and protein crops
Non-food, processed cereals, potato starch, cereal substitutes, rice
Fibre crops

Specialised crops

Fruit and vegetables
Wine and alcohol
Olive oil

Animal products

Milk and milk products
Rural development

Veterinary legislation

Control system in the internal market
Identification and registration of animals
Control at the external borders
Animal disease control measures
Animal health - trade in live animals and animal products
Public health protection
Animal welfare
Zootechnical legislation

Phytosanitary legislation

Harmful organisms
Quality of seeds and propagating material
Plant variety rights
Plant protection products / pesticides
Animal nutrition

Compliance with the acquis

The latest assessment of each candidate country’s compliance with the acquis under this chapter heading, can be found in the 2004 Regular Reports and in the Comprehensive Monitoring Reports, available at:


Country by country


  • Chapter opened: March 2002
  • Status: closed December 2004 (provisionally closed in June 2004)
  • Transitional arrangements: see above

Cyprus (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: June 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002

Czech Republic (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: June 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002

Estonia (New Member State)  

  • Chapter opened: June 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002

Hungary (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: June 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002

Latvia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: June 2001
  • Status: Closed December 2002

Lithuania (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: June 2001
  • Status: Closed December 2002

Malta (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: December 2001
  • Status: Closed December 2002

Poland (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: June 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002


  • Chapter opened: November 2002
  • Status: Closed in December 2004 (provisionally closed in June 2004)

Slovakia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: June 2001
  • Status: Closed December 2002

Slovenia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: June 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002
-  updated: 17/12/2004
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