Blog: Council ‘ready for talks’ on €5 billion Brexit fund – Agriland

The Council of the EU has said that it is “ready for talks” on the €5 billion Brexit Adjustment reserve, after the member states adopted the council’s position.

In a statement, the council said that the fund will focus on regions, areas and sectors most affected by Brexit.

The fund will be used to pay for a number of measures, such as compensating business for lost trade, keeping people in employment and setting up customs checks.

Back in January, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said that Ireland would get €1.05 billion of this, being the economy most exposed to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

It is thought that farmers would be in line for a substantial portion of that allocation, something that farm organisations have been insisting on.

Speaking yesterday (Thursday, April 30) , Portuguese minister for agriculture Augusto Santos Silva (representing the presidency of the EU Council, which is currently held by Portugal) said: “The reserve aims to support all member states to counter the negative consequences of the UK’s withdrawal.

“In a spirit of solidarity, we are committed to help European regions, companies and citizens, and especially the hardest hit communities, to tackle the unprecedented challenges of Brexit,” Silva added.

The council’s position endorses a four-year period from January 1, 2020 until December 31, 2023, meaning that costs incurred during that time as a result of Brexit can be covered in full or in part.

“Since the economic consequences of the UK’s withdrawal are multiple and unpredictable, the draft regulation establishing the reserve provides an indicative and non-exhaustive list of eligible measures,” the council statement said.

This list includes, among other things: assistance to businesses and fishing communities; short-term work schemes and retraining programmes; border, customs, sanitary and phytosanitary checks; collection of indirect taxation; and reintegration of EU nationals who have left the UK due to the withdrawal.

“Whatever measures member states decide to take, they have to be directly linked to mitigating the adverse consequences of Brexit to qualify for funding,” the statement highlights.

The allocation method for the fund takes into account the uneven impact of Brexit on different regions and sectors.

Under the council’s position, all €5 billion (which is in 2018 constant price) will be provisionally allocated upfront.

Each member state’s share is determined by three main factors: the value of fish caught in the UK exclusive economic zone; the importance of trade with the UK; and a factor linked to the population of maritime border regions with the UK.

€600 million will be allocated for the first of these factors (on fishing); €4.105 billion for the second factor (on trade); and €250 million on the third factor (on maritime border regions).

€4 billion will be disbursed as pre-financing in three installments in 2021, 2022 and 2023. The remaining €1 billion will be made available in 2025.

How this final installment is shared will depend on how member states have spent the funding in previous years, taking into consideration any unused amounts.

Once the European Parliament has adopted its position, itself and the council will hold talks on the draft regulation, with the aim of reaching an agreement before the parliament’s summer recess.

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