Modification of the Solidarity Fund – No Deal Brexit

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Stellungnahme des Ausschusses: Modification of the Solidarity Fund – No Deal Brexit

Key points

The EESC:

  • believes that the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity are essential to the functioning of the European Union. It is important, therefore, that in the event of the United Kingdom leaving the EU without an agreement on 31 October, all Member States stay united and face the consequences and challenges of this decision together;
  • understands that the proposal is part of a package of contingency measures for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom without an agreement, that was adopted by the Commission on 4 September 2019 following a call from the European Council to explore all possibilities for existing funds to be used to help alleviate potential financial burdens on Member States;
  • agrees with the addition to the Regulation establishing the EU Solidarity Fund, of the stipulation that the notion of "major disasters" covers natural disasters as well as situations where serious financial burden is inflicted on a Member State as a direct consequence of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union without an agreement, provided that this remains a one-off event within  the time-limit of 2020;
  • proposes that the Commission consider creating an EU instrument that can deal with such political situations and crises in the future. However, if such a new instrument were put in place, it should only be for exceptional situations and be decided formally, case by case. The specific conditions for which compensation can be granted should be defined clearly;
  • strongly believes that the Commission should take all the necessary steps to ensure that the extension of the scope does not lead to a situation that would put at risk the ability of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to respond to unforeseen events connected with natural disasters;
  • believes that the envisaged date of 30 April 2020 is rather late and therefore calls on the Commission to speed up the procedure for the decisions on mobilising the funds in the event that the UK leaves the EU with no agreement;
  • welcomes the increase in the advance payments from the current level of 10% of the expected amount to 25%, but more needs to be done so that the response is rapid and effective.
  • considers that the Commission should pay particular attention to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as they are the most vulnerable to the challenges of Brexit.