The European Council today (Tuesday, September 28) gave its final approval to a fund designed to help member states tackle the negative impact of Brexit.

The fund of €5.4 billion will support the hardest hit regions, sectors and communities to cover extra costs, compensate for losses or counter other adverse economic and social effects resulting directly from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Ireland is the largest beneficiary in absolute terms, with over €1 billion coming our way. The Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium are the next largest beneficiaries.

The reserve is a special one-off emergency instrument.

“It will support public and private businesses facing disruption of trade flows, including new costs for custom checks and administrative procedures,” the council said in a statement today.

“Since the UK’s withdrawal from the EU has created an unprecedented situation, member states will have the flexibility to decide on the best actions to take so as to counter various negative consequences.

“In this respect, the setting up of the fund provides for a non-exhaustive list of eligible measures, ranging from support for SMEs, regional and local communities and organisations, including small-scale coastal fisheries dependent on fishing activities in UK waters, as well as measures to support job creation and reintegration in the labour market of returning EU citizens.”

The reserve will finance measures introduced from January 1, 2020, until December 31, 2023, to cover expenditure incurred before the expiry of the transition period.

Today’s approval by the council of the European Parliament’s position at first reading, which was voted in plenary on September 15, is the final legislative step and means that the Brexit adjustment reserve has been adopted.

The regulation will enter into force on the day after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union in the first half of October.