Flanders gets 223 million from Brexit fund for Belgium
Flanders will receive 223 million euros from the European Brexit Fund in the coming years. This became apparent after a parliamentary question by Karl Vanlouwe (N-VA, Flemish nationalists), reports De Standaard on Thursday.
Flanders will thus receive 63 percent of the 353 million euros earmarked for Belgium. According to the “distribution key” agreed upon by the various regional governments, Wallonia receives 29 percent of the funds allocated to Belgium. This amounts to 101 million euros. Brussels gets 8 percent, or 29 million euros.
The Brexit fund was created to provide financial support to countries most affected by Brexit. In Flanders, it was particularly feared that the food and textile industries would suffer greatly after the departure of the British from the Eurpean Union.
The Flemish government has entrusted the Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship agency (VLAIO) with the management of these subsidies. The 223 million euros will be paid out in four instalments this year and next. The money is mainly intended to support exports to the UK or to find alternative export destinations.
Flemish member of parliament Karl Vanlouwe hopes that with the Brexit fund the recovery of the Flemish economy after the British departure can be accelerated, but he also fears a difficult international geopolitical situation. “The results for both exports and imports were encouraging in 2021. But with the war in Ukraine, we are seeing renewed uncertainty and instability with rising commodity prices and logistical difficulties. This is detrimental to global economic growth, and therefore also in Flanders.”
On Thursday a ‘kick-off event’ is set to take place in the coastal city of Ostend, where VLAIO will present the ‘Brexit Adjustment Reserve’. Flemish minister of Economy Hilde Crevits (CD&V, christian democrats) will be present.
According to the Flemish government, it is still too early and too difficult to properly assess the economic damage of Brexit in Flanders. The war in Ukraine also weighs on companies. However, a study has been commissioned from an external agency to accurately measure Brexit’s impact. Initial results are expected as early as next month.
Photo © Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP