EU unlocks Brexit funds for hard-hit member states

EU governments on Tuesday gave final approval to 5.4 billion euros (US$6.3 billion) in emergency funds to member states punished by the economic fallout of Brexit, with the biggest payouts going to Ireland and France.

Ireland, which shares the EU’s only land border with the United Kingdom, will get 1.1 billion euros from the fund to help cover the major setbacks due to the divorce.

France will receive 735 million euros, with a big chunk for the country’s fishing industry, which has seen access to UK waters limited by 25 percent under the terms of the split.

London and Brussels reached a last-minute post-Brexit trade deal on December 24 last year that ensures zero tariffs on most goods flowing between the UK and EU.

But new customs regulations have brought added costs and paperwork for firms on both sides.

The British government has also introduced its own support programmes for UK businesses affected by the shocks of leaving the EU.