Brexit - the exceptional case for state aid supports for the food and drink sector

The UK vote to leave the EU is a fracture of the single market and it is the first time a country has left. The vote is also the largest and most immediate challenge facing the Irish agri-food and drink sector. The accession process for new members of the Union is structured and in a similar way, departure needs to be structured, take place over a period of years and affected economies and sectors supported.

The principle underpinning EU state aids rules is that efficient operation of the single market is undermined by Government interventions except for clearly defined circumstances such as market failures. However Article 107 of the Treaty states that the Commission “may declare compatible with the common market aid ‘to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State”. Brexit is not just a single market phenomenon. It is a fracture and thus a serious disturbance to the Irish economy…..hence a different approach required to remedy this disturbance.

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