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Implications of Brexit for UK ESI Fund Programming and Future Regional Policy


Jayne Woolford

The UK referendum on EU membership resulted in a vote to leave the bloc. The UK and EU are currently in limbo whilst the withdrawing Member State prepares to trigger Article 50 and formally notify its intent to depart. The financial, legal and economic implications are expected to be wide-ranging although the process of unpicking the interlinkages across different policy areas has not yet begun. In the case of Cohesion Policy, the negotiation of an end date for eligibility and the extent to which the established regulatory procedures around N+3 and programme closure will be applied to the departing UK will be crucial, not only in determining the exact financial ‘hit’ to UK regions of Brexit but also in terms of implications for programming on the ground. Regulatory specificities mean that the withdrawal process could be characterised by regions who voted to leave the EU still spending their EU allocations and required to comply with EU law long after UK withdrawal.

Dr Jayne Woolford worked for 4 years as a desk officer for UK and Latvia in DG REGIO, and has experience working in UK regional and local government and with Croatian central government on ESI funds. She currently works at Cardiff University as a Research Associate in the School of Law and Politics, and freelance as an ESI fund advisor and evaluator. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect upon the institution for which she works.


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