February 3, 2019 / 9:58 AM / 14 days ago

EU agrees no-deal Brexit compensation for Irish farmers - report

British and EU flags flutter outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

DUBLIN (Reuters) - The European Commission has agreed to compensate Irish farmers for a collapse in market value in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Irish edition of the Sunday Times newspaper said, quoting Irish government and EU sources.

Farmers would be in line for hundreds of millions of euros in emergency aid to offset a collapse in beef and dairy prices, the newspaper reported, the amount Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said last month Dublin would seek for its farming and fishing industry.

The details of the scheme were finalised between Creed and the commission’s agriculture chief Phil Hogan, the report said.

The move, similar to measures taken when Russia banned EU farm produce, could also apply to Dutch and Belgian flower producers and Danish dairy and bacon farmers, all of whom export heavily to Britain, the newspaper said.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said this week he had alerted the commission that Dublin would seek aid for firms if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal next month, alongside other potential emergency EU and domestic funding. [nL5N1ZT76Z]

With close trading links with Britain, especially in labour intensive sectors like agri-food, Ireland’s export-led economy is considered the most vulnerable of the remaining 27 European Union members to a disruptive exit by its neighbour.

A spokesman for the Ireland’s Agriculture Department could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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