This notice provides an overview of how the UK government’s guarantee for EU-funded programmes applies to the British Overseas Territories, if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

It covers all British Overseas Territories governments and organisations that are eligible to bid into the following EU funding programmes:

  • European Development Fund
  • Horizon 2020
  • Erasmus+
  • Voluntary Scheme for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in EU Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories (BEST)

For Gibraltar, it also covers:

  • EU Structural Funds, specifically the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
  • the European Social Fund (ESF)
  • European Territorial Cooperation programmes

This notice should be read in conjunction with the notices relating to individual funding programmes.

Before 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020)

Until the UK leaves the EU, the UK remains a member state, with all the rights and obligations that includes. The UK and our Overseas Territories, including Gibraltar, will continue to participate in EU programmes while the UK remains a member of the EU.

As agreed as part of our financial settlement with the EU, we will continue to take part in all EU programmes after 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020) for the rest of the 2014 to 2020 Multiannual Financial Framework. The financial settlement has been agreed by both UK and European Commission negotiators in a draft Withdrawal Agreement and welcomed by the other 27 EU countries at the March European Council.

After March 2019 if there’s no deal

In the unlikely event of a no deal, the UK will leave the EU Budget in March 2019. Without further action, this would mean governments and other organisations in our Overseas Territories could lose future funding for existing projects under EU programmes. However, the Chancellor has agreed that the UK government will guarantee funding for specific EU projects. This will provide certainty for British Overseas Territories governments and participating organisations over the course of our EU exit.

This guarantee covers:

  • Full territorial allocations to the British Overseas Territories governments from the European Development Fund (EDF) that have been agreed while we remain in the EU. It also includes projects agreed under the EDF regional and humanitarian allocations. The exceptions are the finance interest subsidies and technical assistance through the European Investment Bank’s Overseas Countries and Territories Investment Facility, which are not covered by this guarantee.
  • Paying awards under the Horizon 2020, Erasmus+, and BEST, where Overseas Territory participants successfully bid on a competitive basis while we remain a member of the EU.
  • Funding successful bids where Overseas Territory organisations are able to participate as a third country in competitive grant programmes from exit day until the end of 2020. This would only apply to programmes that Overseas Territory organisations already participate in, and if the European Commission agrees that the Overseas Territories are eligible to participate from exit day until the end of 2020 in a particular programme.
  • As set out in the notices on the Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ programmes, the government is seeking discussions with the European Commission to agree how consortia and projects with UK participants can continue after our exit. These discussions would also cover the UK’s and Overseas Territories’ continued participation in these programmes, for example as a third country.
  • EU Structural Funds that Gibraltar receives as part of the 2014-20 Multiannual Financial Framework allocation – the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF), and European Territorial Cooperation programmes (a sub-fund of Structural Funds that involves cross-border projects). The notices issued by BEIS provide further detail.


The government’s guarantee ensures that British Overseas Territory participants, such as governments and organisations, will continue to receive funding over a project’s lifetime if they successfully bid into EU-funded programmes while the UK remains a member of the EU, and, where access (for example as a third country) is available, before the end of 2020.

Over the coming months we will set out the precise arrangements for how our guarantee will operate for British Overseas Territories for the specific programmes outlined in this notice. These will include administrative and governance arrangements.

More information

Contact the Foreign & Commonwealth Office if you have any questions.

This notice is meant for guidance only. You should consider whether you need separate professional advice before making specific preparations.

It is part of the government’s ongoing programme of planning for all possible outcomes. We expect to negotiate a successful deal with the EU.

Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area and participate in other EU arrangements. As such, in many areas, these countries adopt EU rules. Where this is the case, these technical notices may also apply to them, and EEA businesses and citizens should consider whether they need to take any steps to prepare for a ‘no deal’ scenario.

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