In its response to Keith’s question on whether vital EU funding to the UK would be delivered for ongoing projects, the European Commission states it is not able to offer any clarity until the triggering of Article 50 – the formal process for the UK to leave the EU – has taken place and negotiations between the remaining 27 member states and the UK have advanced.
Last autumn, Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England, and his Green colleagues Jean Lambert and Molly Scott Cato MEPs, put pressure on the European Commission to clarify whether EU funding allocated to the UK will be delivered in full for the programming period 2014-2020, and to find out about opportunities for continued cooperation between the UK and the EU beyond Brexit.
The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are the EU’s main funding programmes for supporting growth and jobs across the EU. The UK has been allocated EU funds under the ESIF in the funding round for 2014 to 2020, with the European Social Fund (ESF) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), jointly referred to as the EU Structural Funds, investing around €11.8 billion across the UK during 2014-2020.
Greens believe that these programmes are strategic investment plans with long-term perspectives linked to political objectives such as labour market and SME support and climate protection that have been agreed for the years to come, and should, therefore, go ahead irrespective of the exit negotiations. Keith and his colleagues are also calling for continued cooperation between the UK and its European neighbours for the programming period post-2020.