Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK has returned from Brussels after discussions on the implications of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union and in particular its impact on the British financial services industry.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by the Chief Secretary Will Greenhow and Director of External Relations Della Fletcher, and the visit was facilitated by the Isle of Man Government’s Brussels Office.
Mr Quayle said:
‘The UK’s withdrawal from the EU will be one of the most significant political and economic events in the current era, and I wanted to learn first-hand what the current thinking is on this important issue.
‘I met with a number of representatives from the City of London, the UK Government, industry, and the European Parliament, as well as Brussels think tanks, to hear their views and to tell them about our consideration of the implications for the Isle of Man.
‘I also discussed the implications for Gibraltar with their representative to gain an understanding of their position, which is very different from ours, and I met with the representatives of the Faroe Islands to learn more about their relationship with the EU’.
Mr Quayle added:
‘Building and maintaining networks of partners in the UK and Brussels is vital for the Island to ensure that we understand international events and their potential impact on us. During the course of what is likely to be a lengthy and complex process of UK withdrawal from the EU, this engagement will be more important than ever before’.
Since the UK referendum a group of Isle of Man Government officers has been looking at various elements of the withdrawal process, as well as the longer term implications, building on work that began six months before the vote took place.
The work includes looking at: the legislative and constitutional impact of the withdrawal itself; the potential new relationship between the EU and the UK, and by extension the Isle of Man; risks and opportunities; and the potential for participation in new trading relations with other counties around the world.
The Chief Minister has asked the officer group to update the new Council of Ministers and to produce a further report for Tynwald Members and the public this autumn. He concluded:
‘Whilst the UK position is still far from clear, it is absolutely vital that we continue to engage with the discussion, so we can in turn develop our own position’.