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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 the 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 meant that the UK had been scheduled to leave the EU at 11pm (UK time) on 29 March 2019, however it was agreed at the European Council summit on 21 March 2019 to delay this until at least 12 April 2019. 

In this time the UK and the EU negotiated a Withdrawal Agreement and accompanying Political Declaration. Parliament however failed to approve the so called ‘deal’ and this subsequently led to a further extension of the Article 50 period to 31 October 2019. Theresa May officially stepped down as Prime Minster in June 2019 after her Withdrawal Agreement was voted down three times by MPs.

Theresa May’s successor Boris Johnson returned to Brussels to renegotiate the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU. A revised Deal was subsequently reached by the UK and the EU on 17 October.

The UK Parliament however on 19 October voted to withhold formal approval of the deal until all the necessary UK domestic implementing legislation is in place. The UK government therefore requested that the Article 50 period be extended to 31 January 2020. The EU agreed to this request on 28 October 2019.

 The UK is now scheduled to leave the EU on 31 January 2020.

Isle of Man Government has published a comprehensive guide to help Isle of Man residents and businesses prepare for Brexit. This consolidates the large amount of information and guidance already available. 

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 the Customs and Excise Agreement between the Isle of Man and the UK will continue.

Changes have been made to some Manx laws which refer to European institutions to ensure that they continue to operate effectively in the Isle of Man. Much of the European legislation that applies directly to the Island under Protocol 3 has been retained. The necessary legislative powers to enable this are contained within the Government's European Union and Trade Act 2019, which received Royal Assent on 15 January 2019.

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