With the clock ticking for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, Brussels is facing the task of filling the €9 billion per year hole that may emerge as a result of Britain’s withdrawal.
The regions, municipalities and provinces across Europe which will be hardest hit by Brexit have urged the European Union to create a special compensation fund in order to deal with the consequences, according to Politico.
It obtained a raft of responses to a survey conducted by the EU’s Committee of the Regions, which comes as Brussels faces the issue of filling in a €9 billion ($10.7 billion) annual budget shortfall following Britain’s withdrawal.
“If the EU establishes a special fund for local cities and regions, it will be a good measure to avoid any negative consequences of Brexit in other EU countries,” according to Stavros Stavrinides, representative of the Strovolos municipality in Cyprus.
He was echoed by an official from the Andalusia region in Spain who urged the EU to “create a fund for areas especially affected by Brexit”.
A Madeira official, for his part, said that the autonomous region of Portugal “strongly recommends using European and other financial mechanisms, at the regional and local level, to help offset the consequences for the outermost regions, as most of them and their municipalities will be affected by the UK’s departure from the EU.”
Budget Commissioner Gunther Oettinger has meanwhile warned that more spending cuts and budget payments by wealthy EU countries are needed to fill in the €9 billion hole in the EU’s finances which will appear after Britain’s regular budget contributions are due to end in 2021.
After Brexit, the gap in the budget will have to be covered by other EU members annually, €4 billion ($4.8 billion) of which will be Germany’s burden, according to a report by the Funke media group from November 2017.
Brexit talks between the UK and the EU kicked off on June 19, 2017 and are scheduled to wrap up by the end of March 2019.