BUDGET: UPDATE ON EXECUTION OF 2001 AGRICULTURAL BUDGET.

For the market expenditure sub-section (1a), the level of spending totals Euro 25.249 billion, Euro 450.9 million below the indicative level. This under-use of funds from the 2001 farm budget is due notably to the rate of payment by Member States by comparison with indicator forecasts, notably for the beef and veal sector (minus Euro 283 million). With the exception of the significant reduction in export refund payments, following the closure of export markets (mainly as a result of foot-and-mouth disease), the gap is due to the delay in the payment of beef premiums in the majority of Member States. Moreover, owing to low prices and the instability of the cattle market, farmers have tended to keep animals on the farm for longer than would normally be the case, and as a consequence, the execution of the budget for slaughter premiums has been slower and might fall short of credits available.Regarding sub-section lb (rural development and accompanying measures), execution totals Euro 1.194 billion, 18% of the sum set down and Euro 370.6 million below the indicator). It should be noted that 2001 is the first year of implementation of new rural development programmes applicable over the period 2000-2006. The majority of these programmes were approved during the course of the second half of 2000. The Member States' lack of experience in relation to the rhythm of...

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