Clarity needed on Brexit emergency funding – Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has hit out at the government’s confused approach to securing an EU emergency package to support vulnerable sectors, including Irish agriculture, post Brexit. Carthy, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture & Rural Development committee, argued that such a package will likely be required in any Brexit scenario but it will be essential in the event of a no-deal. He said that the mixed messages coming from government and EU sources were causing consternation among farmers and businesses on the front-line of a Brexit fallout.
Matt Carthy said:
“Sinn Féin have been advocating for a Brexit emergency package to be provided for since the Summer 2016 referendum result became clear. Throughout that time we have been in correspondence with the Irish Minister Micheal Creed, Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker urging that provision be made for such a fund.
“Rather than setting out the framework in which a relief fund would be set up for the benefit of farmers and other small businesses affected by Brexit, they have adopted a ‘wait-and-see’ approach. Now, at this belated stage, the government and commission are leaking contradictory messages on the matter, causing consternation among farmers and businesses on the front-line of any Brexit fallout.
“It is unacceptable that Minister Creed has not agreed concrete terms with the Commission for funds to be allocated, especially as we face the prospect of a no-deal Brexit scenario.
“Regardless of whether Britain manages to leave with some kind of an exit deal, there will still be the potential for severe shocks for many sectors and the lack of foresight or planning is astounding.
“Indeed some sectors have already experienced volatility and we have had numerous economic reports that point to potentially devastating outcomes for many others, especially in agriculture, in the event of a no-deal.
“Sinn Féin have been advocating since 2016 for an automatic mechanism that can easily be triggered in the event of tariffs being instated, significant currency fluctuations or other Brexit related shocks. We also proposed a relief fund similar to the existing European Globalisation Fund, which is triggered when mass redundancies or job losses are brought about by global production shifts. Additionally, we have suggested a potential fund under Article 219 of the Common Market Organisation Regulation, which provides for exceptional measures against market disturbances.
“This article was used in 2017 when the Commission came forward with numerous solutions for Central and Eastern European Countries affected by the Russian Sanctions.
“Farmers and small businesses must be provided with clarity on this matter. It is now past time to be outlining solutions. The ‘wait-and-see’ approach is no longer acceptable”.