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EU to Support Irish Farmers in Case of No-Deal Brexit

In response to Irish farmers’ concerns about the economic ramifications of a “no-deal” Brexit, the European Commission has agreed to provide financial aid in the case of a hard exit. The details of this agreement were reportedly set in a meeting between Irish Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan on Jan. 28.

A “no-deal” Brexit means the United Kingdom would leave the EU without a decision on future free trade, so tariffs would likely begin being administered on trade between the UK and Ireland. Half of Irish beef exports are imported by the UK, and geographical proximity, shared trade interests, and common borders would add financial stress to Irish farmers in the case of a no-deal Brexit. If no deal is reached, Creed says farmers will face an “existential challenge” as the agri-food section would face an estimated 1.7 billion euros in tariffs.

President of the Irish Farmers’ Association Joe Healy requested last week that, in the case of a no-deal Brexit, the government commits to supporting farmers. Photo:  Sam Boal/Rolling News

President of the Irish Farmers’ Association Joe Healy requested last week that, in the case of a no-deal Brexit, the government commits to supporting farmers. Photo: Sam Boal/Rolling News

Ireland’s export-based economy is thought to be the most vulnerable of the remaining 27 EU members in a hard exit. The European Commission financial aid would serve to counterbalance expected lowered earnings and hikes in job cuts, as well as a fall in beef and dairy prices.

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan promises aid for Irish farmers in case of no-deal Brexit. Photo:  Euractiv

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan promises aid for Irish farmers in case of no-deal Brexit. Photo: Euractiv

The commission is prepared to provide hundreds of millions of euros in crisis relief to compensate for the loss of British consumers and the Irish agricultural market collapse. Hogan stated that the EU is “ready for all eventualities” if a no-deal exit causes a market crash.