The international development umbrella body Bond has raised fears that British aid charities could be discriminated against and have funding withdrawn by the European Union in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The Guardian newspaper reported that officials working for Martin Selmayr, a senior aide to Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, have been inserting disclaimers in aid contracts warning UK international development charities they will lose their funding if Britain leaves the EU without a trade deal.
The newspaper reported that a note in aid contracts said UK withdrawal without a deal from the EU during a grant period would mean the affected charity would lose funding or be required to leave the project they received funding for.
Previous research by Bond has suggested that the UK aid sector gets approximately €300m a year from the EU, with most organisations expecting an annual funding shortfall for the sector after Brexit.
But Bond has suggested that the EU has "misunderstood" UK charities’ eligibility for European funding in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The UK is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which is an intergovernmental body that should ensure UK charities can still get funding from the EU for their aid programmes.
Claire Godfrey, the head of policy and campaigns at Bond, said: "We are very concerned that the European Commission has misunderstood the eligibility criteria for UK NGOs to access funding from the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit scenario.
"There is a real danger that UK NGOs will be both discouraged from applying and discriminated against during the process, if the proper criteria are not used. Ultimately, it will be the people who benefit from UK NGOs’ humanitarian response who will bear the brunt of this if UK NGOs’ activities are diminished."
The UK is due to leave the EU in March.