The historic €1.82 trillion package agreed by EU leaders to deal with the ramifications of the Covid-19 crisis is hugely positive for Ireland, Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond has said.
Deputy Richmond said: “Today’s agreement reached at the European Council is very welcome in Ireland; it marks an unprecedented response to the Covid-19 pandemic and will ensure that the funding is available for EU Member States to recover from this once in a generation crisis.
“Agreements have been reached to borrow €750 billion to support Member States, with €390 billion in grants and €360 billion in loans. A seven-year budget of €1.074 trillion was also agreed to support rural and regional development, as well as assist with our climate transition and research and development.
“This agreement is a clear indication of European solidarity; we will emerge from this crisis by working together and through European cooperation.
“Ireland will benefit substantially under this agreement. The Common Agricultural Policy is well protected with proposed cuts reversed under a special allocation of €300 million in recognition of challenges to our agricultural sector.
“Crucially, the deal also includes a €5 billion Brexit Adjustment Reserve which will help those Member States most affected by Brexit. To help with Brexit related costs such as infrastructure we have secured an increase in the share of customs collection costs retained by Ireland to 25%.
“A further €1.28 billion has been allocated to Ireland to assist in our immediate response to the Covid crisis in 2021/2022, with further funding in 2023 to be targeted to those Member States who have been most affected by the crisis.
“Ireland will benefit substantially from these funds due to the hard work and dedication from the current and previous Irish Governments, as well as Irish diplomats in the EU. Our strong connections in the EU and the goodwill we have established has served us well during this crisis.
“Today’s agreement is a good deal for Europe and a good deal for Ireland. As a Union we are stronger when we work together, and this deal is a clear example of European solidarity in action. As we move forward in our recovery from the Covid-19 crisis and from the impact of Brexit, we must not forget the importance and the value of the help we have received from our European neighbours.
“It is a clear testament to Ireland’s continuing good standing within the EU and as a bridge between the differing approaches to European fiscal policy. We’ve benefitted richly from European solidarity over Brexit in recent years and this deal is a further demonstration of this”, Deputy Richmond concluded.