European Commission Ready To Support EU Countries In Case Of “Hard” Brexit
The European Commission stays ready to support countries hit by UK’s exit from the European Union and other external shocks. Guenther Oettinger (EU Budget Commissioner) stated that several billion euros had been earmarked in the next budget cycle, starting 2021, to soften so-called asymmetric shocks.
Several regions, including Ireland and the Flanders region of Belgium which depend heavily on exports to Britain, have warned about the economic price of the country's departure from the EU. Flanders' exports to Britain are worth some 28 billion euros ($32.95 billion) per year and the Flemish government said sales to Britain could shrink up to 2.5% in case of a hard Brexit.
Earlier, the EU’s budget commissioner called for a “flexible” arrangement to allow the UK to access EU research funding post-Brexit, but warned that the country will have to satisfy the EU’s core principle of freedom of movement if it wants a deal. Oettinger’s draft budget for 2021 – 2027, announced last month, included hundreds of billions of euros for research and digital infrastructure. The EU bank supported total investments worth €280 billion in 2016, and is expected to take on an even bigger role during the next budget period.