Key EU agencies face lower budgets after Brexit, European Parliament report warns

31 January 2017 9:55am

16 January 2017. By Simon Taylor.

The EU’s top environmental, chemical and medicinal agencies will have their budgets cut when the UK leaves the bloc, according to a report prepared for members of the European Parliament’s environment, public-health and food-safety committee.

According to the report, the European Environment Agency, which monitors environmental standards, will receive less money after Brexit, as will the European Chemicals Agency, which approves chemicals for use in the EU, and the European Medicines Agency, which clears new medicines.

The reason for the cuts is that as a member of the EU, the UK contributes to the agencies’ running. In the case of medicines, the loss will be greater because the agency will lose fees from the many pharmaceutical companies based in the UK.

The draft report assesses the impact of Brexit on environmental and public-health legislation covered by the committee. It says there are currently 2,000 pieces of legislation in the field and that the UK will need to consider transitional periods to continue applying EU law after it leaves the bloc.

In the case of the EMA, which is based in London, staff retention may also be a problem for the agency’s operation. The report points out that its executive director has expressed concern about the loss of expert staff when the agency moves from the UK.

In terms of legislation currently being decided by EU lawmakers, the most important files relate to the bloc’s efforts to tackle climate change. In particular, they include national commitments to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, overhaul of the emissions trading system and the inclusion of aviation in the ETS.

The report for the European Parliament’s environment, public-health and food-safety committee points out that the UK will have to make its own commitments to cut greenhouse-gas emissions as a signatory to the Paris agreement on climate change. The UK’s cuts won’t count toward the EU’s commitments.

Other areas where the UK’s departure will affect the implementation of EU environmental policy including the national ceilings on air pollutants.

The report, seen by MLex, highlights programs in which the UK participates, including the LIFE conservation scheme. The European Commission has allocated 38.5 million euros ($41 million) in funding for LIFE projects in the UK.

Brexit Special Report