My meeting with Commissioner Vestager was a welcome opportunity to discuss the severe challenges that Irish businesses, both SMEs and large firms, will face when the UK leaves the European Union and the need for appropriate and timely State supports.
The Commissioner acknowledged the high exposure of Irish businesses to the UK market and she assured me that the necessary resources at Commission level will be available to facilitate a swift response if urgent action is required by the Irish Government.
The Commissioner recognized the substantial engagement by officials of the Irish government and the Commission in the Technical Working Group which she established in 2017 to scope and design schemes to support enterprises impacted by Brexit, within 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.
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.