The ECA has expressed concerns about the operation of the €5bn BAR fund created by the EU Commission in a 13-page opinion released on Monday. This fund was established at the end of 2020 to help mitigate the consequences of Brexit in proportion to the extent that it impacted individual EU member states. Ireland has secured €1bn from this fund for expenditure between July 2020 and December 2022.

The main concern for the ECA is the fact that member states are getting an unusually high level of funding up front without having to give the EU Commission details in advance of how the money would be used and secure approval. They recognise that this enables fast reaction to a unique situation, they point out that the Commission won’t know before the end of 2023 if the measures undertaken were eligible and appropriate.