The programme will cover the whole territory of Hungary, including a broad range of ambitious rural development measures which give a special emphasis to the improvement of competitiveness, sustainable development, the stabilisation of existing work places and widening the economic fabric of Hungarian rural areas.
The financial allocation is significant, given that the European Union's contribution, € 317.2 million during the period 2004-2006, will be complemented by national public funding of € 105.6 million. This political agreement concludes the Commission negotiations to launch the Structural Funds Programming for Hungary for the period 2004-2006.
Announcing this agreement Fischler congratulated the Hungarian government for "the significant progress made by Hungary in its preparation for the future structural funds programmes". He also expressed his wish for "continued and enhanced progress in the next few months to allow for a rapid implementation of the programme. This will allow achievement of the ambitious objectives set: the realisation of a more competitive and sustainable agricultural sector, including agriculture, fisheries and food processing industry, and of an integrated development of rural areas aiming at the improvement of the income level and the creation of additional job opportunities of the rural population".
The implementation of the programme will be supervised by a Monitoring Committee, which became operational from the end of 2003, and which represents all partners involved. The committee is responsible for the efficient application and fine tuning of the measures in favour of agriculture and rural development as a tailor-made instrument which promotes all opportunities existing in rural areas.
The priorities of the programme will be defined by the Hungarian authorities in consultation with the EU authorities. The priorities include the stablishment of competitive raw material production in agriculture, with an EU contribution of € 180.9 million and the modernisation of food processing, with an EU contribution of € 44.4 million. Investments in food processing will focus on consumer health protection and food safety and quality, as well as on the environment and on a better adaptation to the sales channels and distribution networks.
The programme will also use an €84 million EU contribution to develop rural and agricultural activities and businesses as well as €7.9 million contribution for Technical Assistance.