May confirms Crown Dependencies seat at Brexit talks table

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has written to Britain’s Crown Dependencies to confirm they will be involved in Brexit talks.

Theresa May said it was right Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man should contribute to exit discussions “where appropriate”, although they are officially outside the EU.

In a letter sent to all of the Crown Dependencies, May has made a series of assurances to quell concerns, despite assurance already having been given by previous UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

As reported here, in June, the Crown Dependencies had demanded that they be involved in Britain’s exit negotiations and wrote to the then UK PM Cameron with a list of concerns. Cameron wrote back with a series of promises, although with the recent change of prime minister in the UK, they decided to act again to ensure that their collective interests were not overlooked.

PM’s letter

In the letter, addressed to all three Crown Dependencies, UK PM May said: “I can confirm that as we prepare for a new negotiation with the EU we will engage your governments. It is right that the Crown dependencies are kept informed and are offered the opportunity contribute where it is relevant and appropriate to do so

May noted that all three dependencies favoured a “continuation, as far as possible, of the current arrangements. “I also note the particular relevance of the grandfathering rights of the EU nationals that reside own your jurisdictions.”

May was responding to letter written and signed by all three Crown Dependencies and sent to her on Friday. She also noted the discussions that took place at an extraordinary general meeting of the British-Irish council on Friday and involved all parties.

Communication ‘essential’

The chief minister of Jersey Ian Gorst said he was “very pleased to receive this assurance”, adding that communication and cooperation would be “essential” going forward.

Guernsey States’ president, Gavin St Pier, said it was a “very welcome letter”.

“I am grateful for the reassurance that Guernsey’s interests are well known and understood, but also that we will be engaged and involved in the process, rather than merely consulted,” he said.

Though the islands are not part of the EU, their right to free trade of goods with the union – established under Protocol 3 of the UK Treaty of Accession – will be nullified when the UK formally leaves the EU.

‘Valued, historical and special’ relationship

Mrs May also confirmed that despite the result of the referendum, the UK would not change the “valued, historical and special” constitutional relationship it had with the islands.

As they were not officially in the EU, people in the Crown Dependencies were not eligible to vote in the EU referendum.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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