The European Commission has been urged by Irish MEP Seán Kelly to press ahead with the adoption of the EU’s Brexit fund, as currently proposed.
The Ireland South MEP made his case in a meeting with the European Commissioner for Budget and Administration Johannes Hahn.
Speaking yesterday (Tuesday, March 30) after the meeting, Kelly said:
Commissioner Hahn and I discussed the importance of the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve [BAR], which is designed to help countries most negatively affected by the UK’s departure from the EU, of which Ireland stands to gain around €1.05 billion.
The Irish MEP has previously criticised French proposals to alter the way the fund will be divided up between member states and could result in a reduction to Ireland’s allocation by up to €200 million.
Continuing, he said: “In announcing the fund, it was Commissioner Hahn who pointed to its aim which is to provide swift and uncomplicated help, focusing on those EU member states most adversely affected by Brexit.
“I was reassured to hear again of his firm commitment to maintaining the current format of the fund and that he believes that further urgency is required,” he added.
I look forward to working with him to ensure that very goal is delivered.
Kelly, who is a member of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee, is leading a campaign by a number of national delegations belonging to the European People’s Party calling for the speedy adoption of the fund in order to help businesses and communities cope with increased costs of trade and lost income.
The Irish, Dutch, Danish, Luxembourg and Belgian EPP Group delegations have all rejected the French proposals to alter the calculation method for dividing up the fund.
“In our view, the methodology proposed by the commission is appropriate because it allocates the biggest amounts to those member states most affected,” Kelly continued.
The French proposal to alter the calculation would only delay the arrival of these vital funds to the businesses and citizens who need assistance most, and only to the benefit to bigger countries.
“It is not acceptable to change the fund in this way, especially at a time when businesses are suffering from both the Brexit trading blow and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The EU needs to act without further delay and progress all supportive measures that can help sustain European businesses in need”, he said.
Concluding, Kelly also thanked Commissioner Hahn for his “enthusiasm and readiness to meet to discuss this important issue”.