The need for an EU fund to be established to assist countries and particular sectors most exposed to the negative impacts of Brexit
To ask the Minister for Finance if he has formally raised at EU level the need for an EU fund to be established to assist countries and particular sectors most exposed to the negative impacts of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Government has published a comprehensive document on ‘Ireland and the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union’ on 2 May 2017. Our priorities are clear: minimising the impact on trade and the economy, protecting the Northern Ireland Peace Process, maintaining the Common Travel Area and influencing the future of the European Union.
The Government is clear and determined that all possible preparations will be made ahead of the UK leaving the EU. The Government is focused on protecting and advancing Irelands interests before, during and after these negotiations.
A critical part of this work is to ensure that these priorities are heard and understood across Europe and, therefore, engagement with our EU partners and with the EU institutions is critical. The EU negotiating guidelines, approved by the special European Council (at 27 level) on 29 April 2017, include very strong acknowledgement of our unique circumstances. This is a positive outcome showing that the Government’s extensive political, diplomatic and official campaign of recent months has been effective in ensuring understanding and recognition of our unique circumstances and specific issues.
Our Brexit preparations include detailed engagement with the European Commission, where we have made them aware that Brexit is already having an impact on the Irish economy, and of the disproportionate consequences posed by Brexit to the Irish economy overall in comparison to other Member States. In the context of Brexit, it is more important than ever that the EU continues to support economic growth and employment, and those Irish businesses most affected by Brexit.
The Government document sets out Ireland’s approach to the EU-UK negotiations including the economic implications. As stated therein, the Government will explore existing and possible future EU measures that could potentially assist in mitigating the effects of the UK’s withdrawal on specific Irish businesses and economic sectors while also, in the light of developments, making a strong case at EU level, that Brexit represents a serious disturbance to the Irish economy overall and that we will require support. (The annex to the document details Government actions taken to date to support business and the economy.) The Deputy should also be aware that the issue of investment funding, in the context of the Brexit challenges facing the Irish economy, is the subject of ongoing discussions with the European Investment Bank (EIB).
The Government will continue to engage with EU partners to ensure that Ireland’s concerns and priorities continue to be reflected In the EU’s negotiating position as it evolves.