UK pressed on Brexit implications for islands

AS THE UK enters a crunch period of Brexit talks, Michael Gove is being pressed to ensure that the Crown Dependencies are not damaged in the process.

Michael Gove (28932388)
Michael Gove (28932388)

Negotiations are on a knife edge with the transition period ending in six weeks, and were further disrupted yesterday when the EU’s chief negotiator went into self-isolation after a member of his team tested positive for coronavirus.

Fisheries and state-aid rules are the two main stumbling blocks to a deal.

Yesterday, the House of Lord European Liaison Committee gave the cabinet office minister Mr Gove until 3 December to come up with answers to a series of questions to concerns they have. They were heightened by the UK Government’s recent unprecedented decision to install a route to legislate for the islands on fisheries. The EU Select Committee published a report in 2017 which analysed the impact of the UK withdrawal on the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

‘How is the Government taking into account the specific interests of the Crown Dependencies in relation to any UK-EU agreement on fisheries, in particular given that a permissive extent clause was added to the Fisheries Bill against the objections of Guernsey and Jersey, which the Constitution Committee argued “undermines the domestic autonomy of the Crown Dependencies and is contrary to long-standing practice”?,’ Lord Kinnoull, chair of the EU committee asks.

There appear to be concerns about how Europeans will be able to come and work in the islands once the transition period is over.

‘What account are you taking of the impact of UK withdrawal on the ability of EU citizens to reside and work in the Crown Dependencies, given the particular impact on the agriculture, health, financial services and tourism sectors?’ he asks.

The UK Government will also have to provide reassurances that existing data protection cooperation, transport and communication links, and energy cooperation with the EU are able to continue.

While the lack of time for the islands to react to any deal is also on the agenda.

‘How are you taking account of the requirement for the Crown Dependencies to complete their own internal consent procedures before the end of the transition period to the terms of any future relationship agreement applying to them?’

Lord Kinnoull also asked what steps were being taken to support the islands’ discussions with the EU about financial services.

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