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Brexit taskforce allocates extra €83 million to support Flemish businesses
Flanders' Brexit taskforce has set aside an additional €83 million to help local companies get through the disruption to international trade expected at the end of the year.
The aim is to support companies as they adapt to the new conditions, which will be difficult regardless of whether a trade deal between the EU and UK is agreed in the months ahead.
“We don’t want to compensate companies for Brexit, but rather provide targeted support to create additional jobs, or to protect existing jobs,” explained Hilde Crevits, Flemish economy minister, at the taskforce meeting in Bruges on Monday.
Brexit without a trade deal between the UK and Europe is expected to put some 28,000 jobs at risk in Flanders, with a potential loss of 2.5% in GDP. Even if a classic free trade agreement can be put in place in the next few months, the government expects GDP to fall by 1.8%.
The plans announced yesterday will see €50 million awarded to the Agency for Innovation & Entrepreneurship to support businesses that can no longer trade with the UK under the new conditions.
The help will focus on innovation, internal reorganisation and changes in business strategy. “These companies will have to adapt their production processes, and can use this support to do so,” Crevits said.
The remaining €33 million will be used to support exports. “We want to use this money to help companies develop new sales markets,” said Crevits.
Jan Jambon, the minister-president of Flanders, used the meeting to reiterate the need for small and medium sized enterprises to prepare for Brexit. “The smallest companies are not always aware of what Brexit might mean for them,” he said. “There is a lot of information available, and companies can contact the relevant agencies to see how best to deal with it.”
Photo courtesy Fevia