EU Budget Committee Vice Chair Doubts About EU Regions' Post-Brexit Fund Appeal

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - A special fund, suggested by a number of EU regions, most affected by the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union, is in doubt until the bloc's budget priorities are agreed upon, Petri Sarvamaa, the vice chair of the European Parliament's Committee on Budgets, told Sputnik on Wednesday.

The EU Committee of Regions (CoR) and the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry Eurochambres jointly conducted a survey in late December on the potential impact that the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union in March 2019 may have on the bloc’s member countries. The survey, obtained by Politico, revealed that a number of respondents had appealed for a special fund to be created in order to mitigate the negative financial consequences of Brexit on the EU regions, most affected by the withdrawal.

"I don’t see [the special fund] as much as a concrete proposal — rather a tactical appeal to the Commission, Parliament and Council, all three at the same time… At this stage, I have reservations about the appeal. We have to agree on priorities first, not write blank checks on the regional basis," Sarvamaa, who represents Finland's National Coalition Party in the European Parliament, and is also a chief negotiator of the European People’s Party Group in the parliament's Budgetary Control Committee, said.

Sarvamaa also stressed that it was still unclear which areas Brexit would impact the most, at least until it is discussed how the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) will look after Brexit.

"We cannot really say which areas will be most 'affected by Brexit' before we have set ourselves priorities and a clear idea of the structure of the post-Brexit MFF," Sarvamaa said.

According to the survey, creating such a special fund for local cities and regions will be a good measure to avoid any negative consequences of Brexit in other EU countries. The document also includes recommendations to the European Union that it should use any financial mechanism, both at a regional and local level, to offset the consequences of Brexit.

READ MORE: If the EU Fails to Clinch Brexit Deal Soon, 'UK May Just Walk Away' — Scholar

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The United Kingdom is one of the European Union's major contributors. In 2016, the country's net contribution to the European Union amounted to 5.6 billion euros ($6.68 billion), according to the European Commission's data. After Brexit, the European Union will no longer receive funding from the United Kingdom.

The MFF is the European Union’s long-term spending plan, which lays down the maximum annual amounts that the bloc may spend in various areas, with the current seven-year plan running from 2014 to 2020. On January 8-9, a high-level conference in Brussels was convened in preparation of the next MFF, which will fall on the period when the United Kingdom will have left the European Union.

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