EU considers designating no-deal Brexit as 'disaster comparable to earthquake' for emergency aid purposes

EU Solidarity Fund would be used to help member states impacted by British policy

Jon Stone
Tuesday 03 September 2019 14:48
What does a no-deal Brexit mean?

Brussels is considering designating a no-deal Brexit as a disaster comparable to an earthquake or heavy flooding for the purposes of allocating emergency aid.

The proposal would see cash from the bloc's Solidarity Fund handed to heavily-hit countries like Ireland to deal with the fallout of UK policy.

Officials behind the scenes are working on the plan, which would require the approval of the European Parliament and member states.

The cash would help any affected member states deal with the significant disruption the bloc is supposed to cause.

The UK government has claimed that the EU, particularly Ireland, would be hit hard by the UK crashing out - though virtually all economists believe the economic impact would but significantly greater on the UK than the EU as a whole.

Boris Johnson has said his government will leave without a deal on 31 October "do or die". It says it would prefer to leave with a deal, but leaks from Downing Street revealed on Tuesday suggest the government views talks as "a sham", while others suggest no serious proposals have been drawn up.

Earlier this summer Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay suggested Ireland would be hit even harder than Britain because the UK's neighbour relies on trade route through Dover for most of its trade.

“For example 40 per cent of their exports go through Dover – so when I read accounts saying that there'll be queues at Dover, they will not just be queues with UK goods in, they'll also be queues with 40 per cent of Irish exports in," he told reporters in Brussels.

Speaking at an EU summit in Helsinki earlier this week Pekka Haavisto, the Finnish foreign minister warned of a no-deal: “It will look like a kind of nightmare, the day after. We don’t know what will happen with people, with trade, with traffic, it will not be good."

The solidarity fund was first set up in 2002 after major flooding in central Europe. Since then it has been used for 80 disasters such as forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought, with 24 different European countries supported to the tune of €5 billion.

The United Kingdom itself has been a beneficiary of the fund twice, on both occasions to help with flooding, in 2007 and 2015, with a total of €222.6 in aid.

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