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Chief Minister meets BIC leaders to discuss Brexit

Friday, 22 July 2016

Chief Minister Allan Bell CBE MHK today (Friday 22 July 2016) joined leaders from around the British Isles to discuss the outcome of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.

The Extraordinary Summit of the British-Irish Council (BIC) was held in Cardiff to consider key issues in the wake of the Brexit vote, including the economy and trade, Common Travel Area and future relations with Europe.

The meeting reflected on the potential implications for each member administration, as well as the impact on the Council as a whole. Leaders also reiterated their commitment to the BIC as a way of maintaining strong relationships between the sovereign governments, devolved administrations and crown dependencies during this period of uncertainty.

As well as contributing to the Summit’s main agenda, the Chief Minister joined his counterparts from Jersey and Guernsey for talks with UK Government representatives on engagement over Brexit.

Mr Bell said:

‘It is vital for the Isle of Man to stay as close as possible to developments following the vote for the UK to leave the EU. We are in uncharted waters and the Island must draw on the strength of its external relationships to protect its position as the implications of Brexit become clearer. Events have been rapidly unfolding over the past month and we have witnessed dramatic changes to Britain’s political and economic landscape. The Extraordinary BIC Summit provided an opportunity for member administrations to take stock and to discuss our common priorities.’

He added:

‘The Isle of Man Government remains very active in terms of promoting our position. We are continuing to work closely with Jersey and Guernsey to ensure the interests of the Crown Dependencies are taken into account during the UK Government’s negotiations. While we are all on a journey into the unknown, the Isle of Man is a resourceful, resilience and outward-looking nation with a strong track record of successfully adjusting to a changing world.’

The Chief Minister took his place at the Summit alongside delegations headed by First Minister Carwyn Jones (Wales), Taoiseach Enda Kenny (Ireland), Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns, and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire (UK), First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (Northern Ireland), First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Scotland), Chief Minister Ian Gorst (Jersey) and Chief Minister Gavin St Pier (Guernsey).

The BIC, established under the terms of the Good Friday peace agreement, is the only international forum comprising the governments of the UK, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. It plays an important role in developing positive links between member countries and provides a platform for consultation and co-operation.

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