Irish Food Group Calls For EU State-Aid Support Post-Brexit
Food Drink Ireland (FDI), the group that represents Irish food and drink businesses, has said that the economic consequences of a hard Brexit demand a series of exemptions from EU state-aid rules for the Irish agri-food and drink sector.
FDI is now calling on the Irish government and the European Commission to establish a comprehensive package that will help viable businesses deal with the fallout of Brexit, the fracture of the EU single market, and the disruption to export trade.
"The Irish agri-food and drink sector and its 230,000 associated jobs are uniquely exposed," said Paul Kelly, director of FDI.
"There is a compelling case for exceptional state-aid support to minimise the economic fallout and job losses arising from Brexit. Already, the euro-sterling currency squeeze is putting intense strain on exporters. This pressure is likely to intensify as the challenges and economic costs of a hard Brexit crystallise," Kelly added.
FDI says that funding needs to be provided immediately, to help companies prepare for the worst impacts of Brexit.
The organisation suggests that both government and EU sources should provide aid to support Irish companies investing in technology, renewal, expansion, refinancing, market diversification and innovation, in a bid to regain competitiveness.
"In the short term, the objective must be to put in place mitigating measures to help companies manage their businesses through ongoing currency shifts during exit negotiations and the transition period," said Kelly.
"The medium-term focus must be on maintaining market share in the UK, developing international markets, and ensuring that, in the domestic market, companies remain competitive against imports and the threat of cross-border shopping."
FDI added that the extensive regional footprint of Ireland's food and drink sector, including regions that are economically disadvantaged, relative to the EU average, means that performance in this sector is directly linked to the performance of the whole economy.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.