UK’s Overseas Territories’ advantages jeopardized by Brexit – by Jeff Jard & Gaetan Barrier email@example.com
There are 14 UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) in total and only Gibraltar is formally part of the EU, while nine others have an important link with the Community. The other territories have special status that shall be jeopardized by the Brexit. Indeed, UK’s Caribbean Overseas Territories are concerned that Brexit will damage their interests in several ways, beside restrictions on free movements of the people, they could lose access to the single market and to EU funding (EDF). The trading relationship that several Overseas Territories have with the EU is very important. For instance, Falkland Islands, sales of fish, meat and other agricultural products are valued at £180 million per year, making the EU the largest market for Falklands’ products. In addition, the ability of several OTs including Gibraltar and Bermuda to ‘export’ their financial services to the rest of the EU is beneficial and currently threatened by the Brexit. Total EU bilateral funding for the UKOTs (excluding Gibraltar) via the EDF is €76.8 million and regional funding is worth another €100 million. Funds are focused on economic diversification, small and medium companies, climate change mitigation and sustainable energy. These funds are providing significant support for the UKOTs development and sustainability, and particularly for some that are not receiving UK development assistance, such as the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Island. Also, EU funds are helping to secure the economic viability of Pitcairn, which struggles to cover its budgetary expenditure, and to mitigate the impacts of remoteness for territories such as Tristan da Cunha.
The fate of UKOTs is undetermined but the negotiations to come will highlight the old ambiguity of their status and relation with the EU.