Kilkenny’s Phil Hogan announces €600m Brexit emergency kitty for Irish workers
By COLIN BARTLEY
IRELAND’s Commissioner to the EU from Kilkenny has announced a €600 million ‘cushion’ fund for Ireland in the event of no-deal Brexit.
EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan says the fund is to limit the damage caused by the UK crashing out of Europe with no-deal.
The fund is to be used to cover the costs arising from extra customs checks, supporting businesses and keeping people in jobs.The money is coming from a European fund used more for dealing with natural disasters.
The European Commission made the announcement at the same time as it called on all stakeholder businesses that trade with the UK to prepare for a no-deal scenario.
In announcing the provision of the fund, Commissioner Hogan said: “In April this year, the Commission announced it was ready to consider financial support to member states to cushion the effects of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, taking into account the available EU funding as well as State aid rules, which could offer flexible and immediate support to companies.
“Reflecting that announcement, the Commission today proposed that the European Solidarity Fund and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund are available to support businesses, workers and Member States most affected by a no-deal Brexit.
“The European Solidarity Fund may now cover the serious financial burden that may be imposed on member states, for example in the areas of additional facilities and staff needed for customs, health and phytosanitary measures and State aid measures to support businesses and schemes to keep people in their jobs.
“Today’s proposal is intended as a statement of solidarity from the Commission that European support is available to mitigate some of the negative effects of a no-deal Brexit on workers and self-employed affected.”
Commissioner Hogan in his statement “welcomed” the commitment of the Commission to the Irish backstop.
“I welcome the restatement by the Commission today that the backstop, provided for by the Withdrawal Agreement, is the only solution identified that safeguards the Good Friday Agreement, ensures compliance with international law obligations and preserves the integrity of the internal market.
“The Irish government can be assured that the European Commission will continue to be available to provide any practical assistance that we can.”