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The bloc’s two largest economies will trouser £780 million between them this year to help adjust to the impact of the new trading relationship with Britain. Only Ireland, arguably the state hardest-hit by Brexit, is set to receive more – £935 million – than the two wealthy capitals. The European Council unveiled its Brexit Adjustment Reserve to help EU countries adjust to the new realities of the bloc’s relationship with Britain in the coming years.
Around £3.7 billion will be dished out to states this year with a further £978 million to be distributed in 2022.
The fund is expected to be mainly spent on propping up the bloc’s fishing industry, which has lost a quarter of its catch in British coastal waters, and the adaptation to new customs controls.
Elisa Ferreira, European commissioner for cohesion and reforms, said: “The €5 billion Brexit Adjustment will support countries, regions, sectors most impacted.
“We kept united during negotiations, we stay united in days after.”
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The European Council and Parliament still need to sign off on the spending plans.
Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney praised eurocrats for ensuring Dublin is handed the largest sum from the fund.
He said: “I’m pleased to announce that a proposal has been made on the Brexit Adjustment Reserve. The BAR is valued at €5.4 billion.
“Ireland’s initial proposed allocation for 2021 is €1.051 billion or 25 percent of the fund.
“I hope the European Parliament and Council will now approve as we continue to work through Brexit.”
Dublin is expected to pump the money into its fisheries and agri-food sectors.
The bloc is planning to spend £534 million of the Brexit fund on helping its fishermen adjust to losing out on quotas in UK waters.
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After the handouts to Germany, France and Ireland the rest of 24 remaining states are only set to receive £1.9 billion between them.
The Netherlands will trouser £634.6 million and Belgium will receive £271.5 million as the other bigger winners from the fund.
Member states who receive funds will be subjected to a detailed audit in 2023 and must provide justification for why the cash was necessary.
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Romanian MEP Cristian Terhes said: “France and Germany getting a huge chunk of the Brexit Adjustment Fund gives legs to the argument that the EU is basically for the benefit of these two countries.
“Two of the largest and wealthiest economies don’t need a billion between them.
“But just as these two countries broke the Growth and Stability Pact at the beginning of the euro, damaging smaller successful economies, so the EU again shows it’s pretty much a Franco-German racket. Surely it’s the less wealthy countries which need the money more.”
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