Attempts by some countries to alter the calculation method for allocating funds from the EU’s €5bn Brexit fund has been branded a “cash grab” by Fine Gael MEP Colm Markey.
Ireland is set to receive a €1bn share of the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR), with the agri food sector in line for a significant portion of the funds.
Markey warned a renegotiation of the terms could see this allocation slashed by hundreds of millions.
The Midlands North West MEP said: “It’s widely accepted that Ireland is the member state most impacted by Brexit. Since the 2016 vote, the Irish Government has committed in the region of €1bn to mitigate its impact and we will continue to incur significant costs in the years ahead.
“It is therefore not unreasonable to expect Ireland to be the biggest beneficiary of the reserve.”
Historically, almost 30% of Ireland’s trade in goods and services has been with the UK.
Markey said attempts to change the ‘distribution key’ were unacceptable and would delay funds reaching Irish businesses and citizens who need them most.
“The BAR is designed to help business and communities cope with the increased costs of trade and loss of income as a result of the UK leaving the single market,” he said.
“For Ireland, the money has been earmarked for fisheries, enterprise, the agri food sector, reskilling, retraining as well as infrastructure at ports and airports. It is essential that the negotiations are concluded to ensure the funds flow as quickly as possible.
“Attempts by particular countries to change the methodology to favour their national interest – at the expense of smaller countries – amounts to a cash grab and must be opposed.”