British Overseas Territories representatives, including from the Falkland Islands held a two-day meeting in London to address Brexit implications such as development funds, tariff free fish exports and the right to travel freely through the European Union. The meeting was in the framework of Prime Minister Theresa May's administration initiative to involve all parts of the UK in preparing for the crucial negotiations.
Falklands were represented by MLA Michael Poole who was able to exchange ideas with other UKOTs leaders and Brexit EU exiting minister Robin Walker, and Foreign Office minister for Overseas Territories, Baroness Anelay. MLA Poole was accompanied by Sukey Cameron, MBE, Falklands' government office representative in London.
MLA Poole was quoted saying that any Brexit deal should ensure Falklands' squid, fish, mutton and lamb can continue to be exported to the EU on a tariff-free and quota-free system.
The Falklands is almost single issue when it comes to Brexit, since 90% of our exports go to the EU27 said MLA Poole. Despite attempts from Argentina to improve relations with the Islands it is hard to forecast fluid trade relations with the South American continent given an 'ecclectic' past of Argentine influence.
The Foreign Office said in a brief release on Tuesday that UK ministers held the first meeting of a new forum dedicated to discussing the implications of Brexit for the Overseas Territories.
Minister for Exiting the European Union Robin Walker and Foreign Office Minister Baroness Anelay hosted leaders and representatives from the Overseas Territories, to ensure their interests regarding the impact of Brexit are taken into account.
OTs leaders welcomed the new forum as a means of facilitating direct and regular engagement with UK Ministers in preparation for and during the UK’s negotiations with the European Union. Leaders discussed areas of high priority and opportunities for their territories.
Minister for Exiting the European Union Robin Walker said: when the UK leaves the European Union the strong relationship we have with the Overseas Territories and the important mutual trade and business links we share will continue.
The UK Government is committed to engaging with our friends in the Overseas Territories as we prepare to exit the EU, and ensuring that we get a deal that works for everyone. In this context, we discussed how the Territories can contribute to a truly global Britain.
Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office The Rt. Hon. Baroness Anelay pointed out that the OTs are integral to the UK Government’s ambitions to create a more outward looking United Kingdom. We are committed to taking their priorities into account as we prepare for negotiations to exit the EU.
I have discussed this very issue during my visits to the Overseas Territories and am keen to build on this early positive engagement to ensure the deal the UK Government ultimately negotiates works for all”.
The first Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council on European negotiations was attended by leaders and representatives from the following territories: Anguilla; Bermuda; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Falkland Islands; Montserrat; Pitcairn Islands; St Helena and Ascension Island; Tristan da Cunha, and Turks and Caicos Islands.
Gibraltar was also represented, although it is receiving special consideration by the government given that it applies most EU law and has a land border with Spain.
Last week the UK Government published its plan for a new, positive and constructive partnership in the mutual interest of the UK and the EU, with a White Paper presented to Parliament. The paper mirrors the twelve objectives the UK Government will use to negotiate Brexit as set out by the Prime Minister last month.