Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Questions (305)

Charlie McConalogue


305. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if her Department has submitted or is considering a request that the state-aid ceiling under EU Regulation No. 1407/2013 be temporally adapted as a policy response to protect companies and exporting businesses here exposed to a no-deal hard Brexit and the UK becoming a third country; when such proposals will be formally submitted; if her Department and other Departments have had discussions with the European Commission regarding adapting the regulation to date or via the working group established with the Directorate-General for competition; and if not, the reason therefore. [5360/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

As you are aware, since its establishment in November 2017 the Technical Working Group comprising representatives from DG Competition, the Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation, Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have been scoping and designing schemes to support enterprises impacted by Brexit in line with State Aid rules.

Through the mechanism of the Technical Working Group Ireland has fully utilised the provisions of the State aid framework to enable the investment by Enterprise Ireland of €74 million in Brexit impacted businesses in 2018.

On 24th January 2019, I met with Commissioner Vestager. The focus of the meeting centred around the severe challenges that Irish businesses, especially SMEs, will face when the UK leaves the European Union and the need for appropriate and timely State supports. It was agreed that Irish officials will continue to work closely with the Commissioner’s team in addressing any State aid issues that may arise to ensure a rapid and appropriate response as the ultimate shape of Brexit and its firm-level implications become known. The Commissioner emphasised that the Commission stands ready to act urgently in mitigation against the impacts of Brexit on Irish firms.