Hogan provides update on Brexit support measures

EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan pointed to the “madness of Brexit” during an EU press conference on Brexit Preparedness in the Area of Agriculture this morning, Monday, April 8.

Hogan said a no-deal Brexit would be the worst of outcomes, but confirmed a contingency plan was in place if and when the UK made its departure.

The commissioner’s comments came as the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, and his team travel to Dublin today for talks with the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, and the minister for finance.

“There has been a heightened risk of a no-deal Brexit in recent months,” said Hogan.

“While common sense should prevail – in relation to Brexit – the EU has put market support measures in place should this very scenario arise.

“The UK tariff schedule was the first time that we got some clarity on tariffs and their imposition on certain products – but we have a lack of legislation in relation to all of this.”

Tariffs and database

He went on to say that the EU had since established a database of duties and tariffs in relation to exports and that was being monitored and updated regularly.

Hogan then pointed to the UK’s high tariff regime particularly in the areas of beef, poultry, cheese, sugar and rice. “Member states will bare the brunt of these tariffs,” he said.

“In a no-deal scenario there will be significant disruption to certain agricultural markets – early intervention will be used in an effort to avoid a potential bigger crisis; a suite of measures are in place and will be discussed further on Wednesday at the council meeting.”

Support measures

Meanwhile, the commissioner pointed to a “mix of measures” that had been nailed down in time for a no-deal scenario.

These, he added, include: intervention; private storage aid; and targeted aid.

“There is also the option for member states to propose changes to the Rural Development Programme (RDP) so that supports can be directed to areas where it is needed,” continued Hogan.

“The outcome of negotiations in London will determine what will be done in relation to the border; any responsibility in relation to that will be under the Good Friday Agreement – there will not be hard border infrastructure on the island of Ireland.”