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Brexit: EU approves €5 billion emergency fund to help businesses hit by UK's departure from bloc

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
According to estimates, EU fisheries now face a 25% reduction of their catch value in UK waters.
According to estimates, EU fisheries now face a 25% reduction of their catch value in UK waters.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Michel Spingler, File

The EU has approved a €5.4 billion emergency fund aimed at helping businesses tackle the short-term effects of Brexit.

The money will cover extra costs and compensate pos-Brexit losses, according to the European Council, which represents the national government of every EU member state.

Ireland, the only EU country sharing a land border with the UK, will receive €1.1 billion, while France will benefit from €735 million.

The UK's departure from the bloc has affected many parts of the EU economy, with the fishing sector particularly at risk.

EU fisheries face a 25% reduction of their catch value from UK waters, according to the European Commission.

Despite a trade deal struck in December to ensure tariff-free trade, Britain’s trade with the EU has also fallen sharply. The EU said the reserve money would benefit both public and private businesses.

"The prompt adoption of the reserve means that much-needed funding will soon be made available to the worst affected European regions and companies," said Zvonko Cernac, Slovenia’s minister for development and European cohesion policy.

Fishing rights were one of the main roadblocks during Brexit negotiations. December’s trade agreement provides that EU vessels can continue to fish in U.K. waters but with a reduced share of catches.

The relief plan adopted Tuesday requires participating EU nations to earmark a minimum of €238 million euros for fisheries, with the possibility of spending much more from their allowances to compensate the sector.

London has also introduced its own support programmes for UK firms affected by the economic shock of Brexit.