Although 10 eastern and southern European countries can look forward to EU membership in May 2004, the deal imposed by existing Member States means that valuable food production subsides will be phased in.

(Greek) Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia will receive more rural development aid than is paid to current member countries; €5.1bn is available for 2004-2006.

Direct food production aids will be phased in – flexibly – over ten years, from 25% of the full EU rate in 2004, to 30% in 2005 and 35% in 2006. These levels can be topped up from own national funds by 30-55% in 2004, 60% in 2005 and 65% in 2006.

Until that year these top-ups could be co-financed to 40% by raiding the EU rural development funds. From 2007, the new Member States may continue top-up EU direct payments by up to 30%, but not from the rural development budgets.

Special provisions have been agreed for Cyprus and Slovenia, taking account of existing national subsidy systems. New members will have full and immediate access to EU market measures, such as export refunds, and cereal, skimmed milk powder or butter intervention.