Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Friday 19 April 2019

No special Brexit fund for farmers as Hogan warns of 'budgetary constraints'

European Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Reuters
European Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Reuters

Sarah Collins

Farmers will be granted EU support measures in the event of a no-deal Brexit, subject to "budgetary constraints", the Commission has said.

Agriculture chief Phil Hogan lashed out yesterday at the "madness of Brexit" and said the bloc would use all the tools it currently has - including public intervention, private storage aid and targeted aid - to support farmers.

The UK could crash out of the EU without a deal as soon as this Friday, unless prime minister Theresa May can secure a second extension to the negotiating time. EU leaders meet tomorrow in Brussels to discuss it.

EU commissioners will also meet on Wednesday to discuss agricultural aid, though they have previously ruled out a specific Brexit emergency fund.

"I understand fully the budgetary constraints in which we have to work," Mr Hogan said, adding that the bloc has "planned well" and will be able to "respond effectively" using existing market intervention measures.

"We still can't say when and in what circumstances the UK will leave," Mr Hogan told reporters in Brussels, two days ahead of the Brexit summit and four days from Brexit day.

"Despite the madness of Brexit I still believe that common sense might prevail. I hope it does.

"No deal makes no sense. It's simply crazy.

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"I hope that we will see political developments this week between all parties in the House of Commons that will be able to avert the no-deal scenario."

He warned of new tariffs - as outlined by the UK last month - and "logistical disruptions" for EU exporters under a no-deal Brexit.

Tariff

Mr Hogan described the UK's tariff announcement last month - which will hit beef, pig meat and dairy producers particularly hard - as "essentially a concept paper".

"We still lack clarity and the details of the necessary legislation to see how this regime will operate in practice," he said.

In Ireland, it is still unclear what checks will apply (and where) if the UK does crash out without a deal.

Last week, Commission vice-president Jyrki Katainen said "new controls will have to be carried out at our borders with the UK", and refused to rule out customs posts.

He said the bloc is working on "new ways" to conduct the checks, but refused to go into detail.

Mr Hogan said border checks will depend on what kind of future relationship the UK decides it wants with the EU.

"The outcome of the negotiations in London will dictate what our response should be," Mr Hogan said.

"If there is a customs union or regulatory alignment between the UK and EU, of course, we will have business a usual."

Commission will look instead to market supports if UK crashes out

Indo Farming