He doesn’t care about EU unity! Macron makes grab for £690m extra from bloc’s Brexit fund
Brexit means the Netherlands has 'lost an ally' says expert
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In a significant blow to EU solidarity, Paris wants the larger member states to benefit more from the reserve to help countries adjust to Britain’s departure from the bloc. The European Commission has already drawn up plans to distribute the cash to the capitals it feels are hardest hit by Brexit – with Ireland in line to receive the biggest windfall. But France wants to tear up the blueprint in favour of its own model, which will see it clinch £690 million more than anticipated.
French President Emmanuel Macron has deployed MEPs from his En Marche party to overhaul the Brexit reserve.
Initial plans were tabled by French MEP Valerie Hayer, a 34-year-old lawyer-turned-politician from Mr Macron’s shameless outfit.
Brussels is not allowed to distribute any of the funds to member states until its plans are signed off by the European Parliament.
It also needs to be backed by the European Council, paving the way for a huge clash between member states.
Under Mr Macron’s scheme, the cash will be distributed based on the gross national product of countries and not how damaged they are by Brexit.
This means the bloc’s largest economies – Germany, France and Italy – would receive much more than expected.
Before the shake-up was proposed, Berlin and Paris were only set to trouser £780 million between them to help them cope with the impact of Britain’s divorce.
Dublin, which was set for a £935 million payout, will likely see its income from the Brexit reserve slump because its GDP is not comparable to the bigger states.
An EU diplomat said: “Ireland is hardest hit by the consequences of Brexit. The proposal by the Commission took this into account.
“Efforts by Paris to change the allocation criteria would result in cuts for Ireland and more money for France. This doesn’t really make for a nice picture.”
The war chest was initially drawn up to help Brexit-stricken member states adjust to life without Britain’s in the single market and customs union.
Ireland, Belgium and Denmark are largely seen as the EU countries most impacted by the UK’s departure.
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Furious Belgian politicians have railed against the French plans and called on their prime minister Alexander De Croo to intervene at the top level.
It was assumed the tiny state, which has close business ties with Britain, was this year going to receive around £278 million from the Brexit cash pot.
The Flemish government was expected to pocket 85 percent of the handout because of the region’s reliance on trade with the UK.
Under Mr Macron’s plans, Belgium will receive £119 million less than the original proposals drawn up by eurocrats.
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Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon said: “The present distribution of the European Brexit fund is very disadvantageous for us and goes against the principles.
“This goes against the basic premise of the fund, of which we are co-founders.
“The money should go to the most-affected member states and regions. This is absolutely unacceptable.”
Mr Macron was said to believe France should be entitled to a larger share of the Brexit fund to make up for losses of access to Britain’s fishing grounds.
His new plans would see Paris pocket around closer to £1 billion
The French President reportedly has the support of Greece, Italy and Spain, which would all receive substantial top-ups under the strategy.
Pascal Arimont, a Belgian conservative MEP, said: “The four big countries that will have more, much more, are not those that are the most affected.
“If we do a Brexit Adjustment Reserve with the aim to cover costs in member states most affected, in my opinion then we should stick to that.”
The Portuguese presidency of the EU wants to sign off the Brexit fund before its tenure is up at the end of June.
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