Food Drink Ireland (FDI), the Ibec group representing the food and drink sector, has welcomed the approval of the Brexit adjustment reserve by the European Council – the final legislative step in its adoption.

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.

Food and drink ‘most exposed’ sector

Paul Kelly, FDI director said that the Irish food and drink sector is “by far the most exposed of any sector in any country in Europe to Brexit”.

“Brexit has added significantly to trading costs including transport and logistics and additional administration both for trade with the UK but also for trade with the EU using the landbridge.

“This is only going to get worse when border controls are introduced in the coming months.”

According to the FDI, to address this competitiveness challenge, funds from Ireland’s €1 billion allocation from the Brexit adjustment reserve should be targeted as follows:

  • Introduce a state-supported export credit insurance scheme;
  • Invest €300 million in competitiveness and trade promotion;
  • Keep the EWSS and grant support under review including for those significantly impacted by Brexit;
  • Extend the Revenue Warehousing Scheme to Brexit impacted companies;
  • Extend the Foreign Earnings Deduction to more markets;
  • Extend and re-finance the ‘Ready for Customs’ grant scheme.

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.