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SAPARD (Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development) was established in June 1999 by the Council of the European Union to help countries of "Central and Eastern Europe deal with the problems of the structural adjustment in their agricultural sectors and rural areas, as well as in the implementation of the "acquis communautaire concerning the "Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and related legislation.
Along with "ISPA and "Phare it is one of the three pre-accession instruments financed by the European Union to assist the applicant countries of Central and Eastern Europe in their preparations for joining the "European Union.
The programme which comes under the remit of the "EU Commission's "Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development is part of the "Agenda 2000 programme for increased pre-accession assistance in the period 2000 - 2006. Until the fifth enlargement of the EU in 2004 its overall budget was 560 million euros (2003).
Currently SAPARD funding is available only to "Bulgaria, "Romania, and "Croatia. After "Bulgaria and "Romania's entry into the EU, "Croatia will benefit from a specially designed "Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) which will build on the programme support from "Phare, "ISPA and SAPARD it will receive during 2005 and 2006.