On 1st May 2004 Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia have become full members of the European Union.
Chapter VII of the Accession Treaty completed by Commission Regulations (EC) No 27/2004 and (EC) No 141/2004 defines for the period 2004-2006 a special rural development regime for these countries. This regime is mainly based on a new Temporary Rural Development Instrument (TRDI), funded by the EAGGF Guarantee, to support the four so-called "accompanying measures" (agri-environment, early retirement, afforestation and compensatory payments for less favoured areas and areas subject to environmental constraint) and the following specific rural development measures:
- semi-subsistence farms undergoing restructuring,
- producer groups,
- compliance with Community standards,
- technical assistance,
- complements to direct payments.
In addition to these measures the new Member States will benefit from a Leader-type measure to be funded by the EAGGF Guidance.
All other non accompanying measures that already form part of the acquis are also available for the new Member States:
- Investment in agricultural holdings,
- setting up of young farmers,
- forestry other than afforestation of agricultural land,
- land improvement,
- setting-up of farm relief and farm management services,
- marketing of quality agricultural products,
- basic services for the rural economy and population,
- renovation and development of villages and protection and conservation of the rural heritage,
- diversification of agricultural activities and activities close to agriculture to provide multiple activities or alternative incomes,
- agricultural water resources management,
- development and improvement of infrastructure connected with the development of agriculture,
- encouragement for tourist and craft activities,
- protection of the environment in connection with agriculture, forestry and landscape conservation as well as with the improvement of animal welfare,
- restoring agricultural production potential damaged by natural disasters and introducing appropriate prevention instruments,
- financial engineering.
Except for the agri-environment measure, which is mandatory, any of the 29 above-mentioned measures may form part of the rural development programming documents at the choice of the new Member States.
In the Objective 1 regions (covering most of the territory of the new Member States) there will be two types of programming:
- the rural development programmes (RDPs) funded by the TRDI (EAGGF Guarantee),
- the rural development measures integrated in the Objective 1 programming funded by EAGGF Guidance.
Outside Objective 1 (mainly Cyprus) there will only be the RDP funded by the TRDI.
In order to facilitate the switch from Sapard (pre-accession programme for agriculture and rural development) to post-accession rural development measures the European Commission held a seminar in March 2003 (Agenda / Minutes and produced guidelines ) for that purpose.