Putting the European Approach to Rural Development Policy in Bulgaria
With the adoption of the 2000 EU Plan in 1999, a new EU enlargement strategy was adopted. The pre-accession strategy was underpinned by the signing of Accession Partnership agreements with the countries applying for membership and substantially funded through the introduction of new EU assistance instruments. The EC approved in 2000 the National Plan for Agriculture and Rural Development, developed by our country for the period 2000-2006 (NPRDSR), on the basis of which a Multiannual Financing Agreement for SAPARD was signed later that year between the EC and Bulgaria, an EU program designed to support the development of agriculture and rural areas in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe prior to their accession to the EU (from the abbreviation SAPARD of the English Special Accession Program for Agriculture and Rural Development).
SAPARD operates in the period 2000 – 2006, which takes the new European approach to rural development policy in our country.
The amount of Community funding under all Annual Financing Agreements signed between 2000 and 2006 amounts to EUR 444 748 370. The total budget of the Program, including national funding, amounts to EUR 592 961 125.
First RDP 2007-2013
Following Bulgaria’s accession to the EU on January 1, 2007, the country’s rural development policy is implemented through the RDP.
In February 2006, the EU Council adopted strategic guidelines for rural development for the period 2007-2013, outlining the thematic priorities for supporting rural development by the EAFRD. RDP of Bulgaria for the period 2007-2013 was formally approved on 19 February 2008 with a total budget of EUR 3,279 million (EUR 2,642 million from EAFRD and EUR 637 million from national funding). The program has been developed in accordance with these guidelines and is structured into 6 axes, comprising a different number of measures that pursue the implementation of different activities and pre-set goals and indicators:
- Axis 1: Improving the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sector (Measure 111 Vocational training, information activities and dissemination of scientific knowledge; Measure 112 Setting up of holdings of young farmers; Measure 114 Utilizing advisory services from farmers and forest owners; Measure 121 Modernization of agricultural holdings ; Measure 122 Improvement of the economic value of forests; Measure 123 Adding value to agricultural and forestry products; Measure 141 Assistance to semi-market farms ; Measure 142 Setting up of producer organizations; Measure 143 Provision of agricultural advice and consultancy in agriculture in Bulgaria and Romania);
- Axis 2: Improvement of the Environment and Nature (Measure 211 Payments to farmers in constrained montain areas;Measure 212 Payments to farmers in constrained areas, other than mountain areas; Measure 213 Natura 2000 payments; Measure 214 Agri-environmental payments; Measure 223 Initial afforestation of non-agricultural lands; Measure 226 Recovery of the forest potential and implementation of preventive actions);
- Axis 3: Quality of life in rural areas and diversification of the rural economy (Measure 311 Diversification to non-agricultural activities; Measure 312 Support for the creation and development of micro enterprises; Measure 313 Promotion of tourists’ activities; Measure 321 Main services for the population and the economy of the rural areas; Measure 322 Reviving and development of the settlements);
- Axis 4: LEADER a total of 3 measures included (Measure 41 Local development strategies implementation;Measure 421 Interterritorial and transnational cooperation;Measure 431.2 Acquisition of skills and achievement of social activity on the territory of potential local action groups; Measure 431 LAG management, acquiring skills and achievement of social activity in the respective territory divided into two sub-measures Sub-measure 1: LAG management, acquiring skills and achievement of social activity in the territories of selected and approved local action groups; Sub-measure 2: Acquiring skills and achievement of social activity in the territory of potential local action groups (2007-2009).
At the end of the first programming period 2007-2013 of Bulgaria’s EU membership, the country reported to the EU 98.95% implementation of the RDP 2007-2013.
Upon completion of the RDP 2007-2013 in Bulgaria and in accordance with the requirements of Art. 84 and Art. 86 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 an ex-post evaluation was carried out, the main purpose of which is to assess the level of resource use, efficiency and effectiveness of programming under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, socially -economic impact and the impact on the Community priorities.
Ex-post evaluation of the Rural Development Program 2007-2013
Second RDP 2014-2020
In line with the EU policy objectives for the 2014-2020 programming period for rural development, the RDP 2014-2020 has three objectives:
- Increasing competitiveness and balanced development of agriculture and forestry and processing industry;
- Protection of ecosystems and sustainable management, use of natural resources in agriculture, forestry and food industry, prevention of climate change and adaptation;
- Socio-economic development of rural areas, providing new jobs, poverty reduction, social inclusion and better quality of life.
During the previous programming period. EC
In the current programming period, the European Commission proposed a new framework for programming dropping axes from the previous programming period and some simplification, especially in the number of measures and greater flexibility in the transfer of financial resources between both measures and in themselves priorities.
The RDP 2014-2020 is structured around 5 thematic priorities and 16 priority areas of rural development policy, including the following horizontal priorities: for environmental protection, adaptation to climate change and innovation. In the new Program, measures are no longer grouped into axes, and certain measures are made up of several sub-measures that pursue the implementation of different activities and pre-set goals and indicators.
The planned interventions under the first objective are allocated 22% of the public expenditure of the Program, the second – 48% and the third – 28%.
The total budget of the Program is € 2 917 848 203, of which € 2 366 716 966 is the EAFRD contribution and € 1 544 355 535 is national funding.
RDP Monitoring Committee 2014-2020
The Monitoring Committee (MC) of the Rural Development Program 2014-2020 was established on the basis of Art. 10 of the Decree of the Council of Ministers No. 79 of 10.04.2014, pursuant to Art. 47 – 49 of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council and in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 1305 on the support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
MC- Relize the implementation of RDP 2014-2020 , remains the effectiveness and quality of its implementation, with a view to achieving its objectives.Monitoring is carried out on the physical, financial and other indicators (indicators) defined in the Program and related to the results of its implementation.
The MC is a collective body consisting of a chairman, a vice-chairman, members and reserve members, observers and reserve observers. The Chair of the MC is the Head of the RDP Managing Authority 2014-2020, the Vice Chair is the Head of the Rural Development Directorate at MAFF, and the coordination, administrative and organizational-technical work related to the MC’s activities is carried out by the Secretariat . The composition of the CN is determined by a decision of the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.
By decision of the MC, permanent and temporary subcommittees and working groups may be set up, if necessary, whose functions and tasks shall be determined by the decision establishing them.