Post Referendum EU Funding Update

Jul 4, 2016

In the aftermath of the European Union Referendum and the vote in favour of the UK leaving the EU I have been asked by several clients what is the likely impact on EU Funding over the coming years.

I was going to sit down and write about my thoughts on the referendum campaign and the subsequent result. However, I think I might have gone on a bit of a rant which many of you have already been subject to, so I've decided to take a much more practical and pragmatic approach and instead have copied below some of the salient points from a very reliable and useful source.

This newsletter from Geofrey Brown of EUCLID provides a brief overview of the practical implications for those interested in developing partnerships and applications for EU funding:

"In theory, the UK will continue to be eligible to be able to lead, or be a partner in, applications for EU funding – whether for Horizon 2020, Erasmus+, Europe for Citizens and Creative Europe – and this will certainly continue until the end of the 2 year period that will be triggered when the UK government invokes Article 50 – which at the moment seems likely to be sometime in the autumn. It is possible that there could be agreement for the UK to be eligible until the final deadlines in 2019 for the current round of these programmes (the current funding round ends in 2020).  The UK will also continue to distribute its share of the EU Structural & Investment Funds via DCLG & the LEPs in England, and the various designated agencies and partners in the devolved nations and regions of the UK.

Beyond 2019/2020, however, this is likely to all change, and will be based on which of the several options is the one chosen by the UK for its formal relationship with the EU.  There are two clear options and a range of possible alternatives yet to be fully explored.

The first option is for the UK to be a Norway type member.  If this option is pursued, then things might not change very much – Norway is eligible to apply as a lead partner or co-organiser for most trans-national funds, for example. However, this is because Norway is an official member of the single market and pays roughly the same per head as does the UK for the privilege – and also accepts the freedom of movement of EU workers.  The problem here is that this is not the sort of post Brexit UK that has been voted for by those who voted to leave.  So a Norway type arrangement seems unlikely.

The other option is that the UK is completely independent from the EU with no arrangements or agreements of any sort – like Russia (!).  There are virtually no other European countries that have no “arrangements” with the EU – Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and even Switzerland are members of either EFTA or the EEA, and the Balkan countries and Turkey have committed to joining the EU one day and are therefore classified as “candidate” countries – there are even agreements of one sort or another between the EU and Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.  A fully independent UK would mean that UK organisations could only participate in EU funding programmes as a “third country” associate partner, on the same basis as Israel, the USA, Colombia, Australia, Thailand, etc.

There could be options between these extremes, but it seems likely that almost any of these would mean the UK either paying a contribution or signing up to commitments that those who voted leave have rejected, so it is difficult at this stage to see the new arrangement being anywhere as open to the UK as it is currently.

Another obvious impact will be the UK's eligibility to be European Capital of Culture - it's next turn is 2023 and several UK cities have already begun their campaigns.  It is difficult to see how this invitation can stand if the UK is not an EU member after 2018/19/20 – and though there have been non EU cities as capitals of culture in the past (e.g. Bergen in Norway, or Istanbul in Turkey), these have been in countries who are part of the single market or official candidate countries – the UK will be neither of these.

In the broader context, there will be implications on visa free travel (gone), reciprocal healthcare arrangements (most likely gone), tax arrangements when touring (more complicated, at the very least), etc, etc.  The UK's interactions with the EU will be similar to those with the rest of the world – possible but less easy.  Many (larger) arts and cultural organisations will cope as they currently already manage international touring and collaborations – but for many smaller and middle scale organisations, and individual artists, the impact will mean fewer opportunities and more complicated arrangements."

You can find out more about EUCLID and sign up to their newsletter HERE.

In addition Big Lottery Fund has issued this statement regarding their joint Lottery and ESF funded Building Better Oportunities programme:

Building Better Opportunities is jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund. The Big Lottery Fund remains committed to the Building Better Opportunities programme until delivery is complete in 2020. We look forward to working with grant holders on local projects that will tackle poverty and promote social inclusion”

If anyone would like to discuss any of the above, please do feel free to get in touch.

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