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Brexit – What next for the Isle of Man?

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In a referendum on 23 June 2016 the people of the United Kingdom and Gibraltar voted by a margin of 52% to 48% to leave the European Union. On 29 March 2017 British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 which formally activated a two year period for the UK and the EU to negotiate the terms of departure. This means that the UK will cease to be an EU Member State at 11pm (UK time) on 29 March 2019.

What is the Isle of Man’s relationship with the EU?

The Isle of Man is not part of the European Union (EU) in its own right, and is not included within the scope of the UK's membership of the EU. The Isle of Man makes no financial contribution to the European Union nor does it receive any funding from the EU. It is not represented in the European Parliament.

The relationship between the Isle of Man and the EU is set out in Protocol 3 to the UK's Act of Accession by which the UK became a member of the EU. The Protocol allows the Island to be part of the EU customs area which permits the free movement of manufactured goods and agricultural products in trade between the Island and the Union.

What's going to change?

When the United Kingdom leaves the European Union the current Protocol 3 arrangement will fall away and a new settlement will have to be negotiated between the Isle of Man, the United Kingdom and the EU. The draft Withdrawal Agreement provides for a transition period during which Protocol 3 would effectively remain in place until that period ends, which is expected to be in December 2020 but could be subject to extension at the request of the UK..

After the end of the transition period, the Isle of Man’s relationship with the EU will be dependent on the agreement on the future relationship reached between the UK and the EU. The EU and UK negotiators have published a Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship and it is expected that negotiations on this future relationship will continue between the UK and the EU during the transition period. The Isle of Man Government is carrying out an unprecedented level of engagement with Departments across the UK Government to ensure that our priorities and the interests of our residents and businesses are taking into consideration during negotiations.

No change in the relationship between the Isle of Man and the United Kingdom is anticipated as a result of its withdrawal from the European Union. The members of the Common Travel Area, which allows free travel within the British Isles, have committed to retaining the Area in its current form; and it is anticipated that the Customs and Excise Agreement between the Isle of Man and the UK will continue, although potentially modified in some way.

Changes will be required to some Manx laws, including the repeal of the European Communities (Isle of Man) Act 1973. There are also various pieces of legislation which refer to European institutions, as well as European legislation that applies directly to the Island under Protocol 3. The continued operation of these laws will have to be ensured. The necessary legislative powers to enable this are contained within the Government's European Union and Trade Bill 2018, which is currently going through the legislative process in the branches of Tynwald.

Significant detail about our work relating to Brexit can be found in the Council of Ministers Interim Reports. Additionally, many specific questions about the potential effects of Brexit are addressed in the FAQs section of this website.

If you have a query relating to Brexit which is not addressed here or in one of our reports, please contact enquiries.CO@gov.im.

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