The EU Solidarity fund will send cash to member states but also countries applying to join the bloc in the coming years. Eurocrats were recently forced to extend the programme aimed at offering assistance after natural disasters to also cover the global pandemic. Funds will be sent to European capitals to help pay for medical supplies and even the creation of vaccines.
Express.co.uk can reveal the Government is expected to continue contributing to the emergency fund despite officially leaving the bloc on January 31.
But this also means the UK remains eligible to claim funds before the post-Brexit transition period expires at the end of the year.
An EU source said: “This also means that they have to contribute their share to any EU Solidarity Fund mobilisation during that period as the EU Solidarity Fund comes over and above the normal budget.”
Britain’s expected contribution to the fund could be as much as £87 million.
This will only be lowered if the Government applies to access the cash before the end of June.
While Britain remains in the EU’s single market and customs union, taxpayers send around £10 billion before the end of the year.
Italy, the bloc’s worst-hit country, became the first to apply for the scheme.
Rome has yet to reveal the details of the financial support it expects to receive.
EU cohesion chief Elisa Ferreira said: “Italy is currently the Member State that is hardest-hit by the coronavirus crisis, and is the first country to apply for help from the EU Solidarity Fund in this context.
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The Government has yet to reveal whether it plans to make an application
Before cash is distributed, the European Commission will first assess any applications before handing to the European Council and Parliament to approve the aid packages.
EU officials have stressed the fund will not be available on a first-come, first-served basis.