Brexit: Commission proposes up to €780 million more for the worst hit countries

Brexit: Commission proposes up to €780 million more for the worst hit countries
Credit: PXhere

The European Commission has proposed to extend the scope of two of its funds to provide financial support to those individuals and Member States most affected by a Brexit no-deal, according to a statement on Wednesday.

The scope of the European Union Solidarity Fund would thus be extended to cover the significant financial burden that withdrawal without an agreement could represent for Member States, under certain conditions, Belga reports.

Another reserve, the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, would also serve to support self-employed workers and workers who will be made redundant as a result of withdrawal without agreement.

The Parliament and the Council (Member States) have yet to decide on these amendments, which complement the 19 legislative proposals, 63 non-legislative acts and 100 Commission communications on Brexit preparation.

The total amounts available through these two measures could reach up to €780 million in 2020, according to a European official. “It is not a panacea, we will not be able to compensate all the costs anyway” of a no-deal for the remaining 27 Member States, this source acknowledges.

In addition to the exposure of national economies, the Executive will take into consideration the efforts made by Member States to prepare for a Brexit without agreement.

As a neighbour of the United Kingdom, Belgium is one of the EU countries that would be most economically affected by a departure from the United Kingdom without a negotiated agreement, and therefore most likely to seek help from these funds.

It is cited as one of the countries that have been most prepared for this scenario, particularly with regard to the return of border controls with the United Kingdom.

These proposals come in addition to the existing instruments to support the transport, agricultural and fisheries markets. For more immediate support, for example, to smaller companies with high exposure in the United Kingdom, Member States have the possibility to activate more flexible EU state aid rules.

“The short time remaining and the political situation in the United Kingdom has increased the risk that the United Kingdom will withdraw (as of 31 October) without an agreement,” the EU executive said.

It, therefore, calls on EU businesses and citizens to “continue to prepare for all possible outcomes” and “not to rely on the assumption that a third extension [of the exit date] will be requested by the United Kingdom”.

The Commission also maintains that the Irish safety net, a provision of the Brexit Agreement which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson demands be withdrawn, is ‘the only solution’ to preserve the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement and the Single Market.

The Brussels Times

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