Budget 2020: No-deal Brexit funding ‘can be augmented’ by EU funds

Funding put aside in Budget 2020 for the agricultural and agri-food sector in a no-deal Brexit can be augmented by supporting funds from the EU, according to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.

Commenting following the announcement of Budget 2020 by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe today, Tuesday, October 8, Minister Creed highlighted the €650 million being put aside for sectors most exposed by a no-deal Brexit.

“It is prudent to have a budget of this nature and to be able to make provision for those exposed, vulnerable but viable businesses for the future,” the minister said.

“Today’s budget in terms of €650 million, the first tranche of that [will be] €110 million for my own department.

It’s no surprise that the most exposed sector in that context, the beef sector, would be foremost in our thoughts in terms of financial provision – €85 million being provided immediately up front for that sector.

The minister added that €6 million has been set aside for other livestock sectors.

This will be used to work with Enterprise Ireland and the processing sectors to look for new opportunities, new product development and market diversification, he added.

Minister Creed continued, adding:

Cumulatively, €110 million – but I think it is important to say obviously that can be augmented by supporting and matching funds from the European Union and also it is but phase one of that response.

“This is a very substantial firewall for us to protect the most significant indigenous industry in the agri-food sector – and if more is needed it will be given.”

When queried as to how much could be expected in terms of supporting funds from Europe, Minister Creed said:

“I think we deliberately haven’t put a figure on that today; we are as ambitious as possible for co-funding across various regulations under CMO regulation or other funding headlines.”

He added that following a number of discussions with the former EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development – now EU Commissioner for Trade – Phil Hogan, “we’re quite hopeful of very significant EU funding to augment what’s on the table here in terms of tranche one of €110 million on the agri-food side”.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney added: “There are two other funds as well that we would be looking to potentially access.”

These, he said, are: the European Globalisation Fund; and the European Solidarity Fund.

“There are a number of pools of money and funds that obviously we’ve been talking to the EU Commission about if a no-deal situation comes,” Coveney concluded.