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House — Premier explains Brexit concerns

Owain Johnston-Barnes

Michael Dunkley said that he has fought to retain the ability of Bermudians to move freely through the EU during Brexit talks.

Speaking in the House of Assembly yesterday morning about his recent trip to the UK, the Premier said: “The greatest concern for most Bermudians is free movement of our people within the EU, a matter we discussed with the Home Office's director for EU exit immigration policy.

“The main EU Treaty provision relevant for the free movement of people will no longer apply.

“Nevertheless, my fellow colleagues and I were strong and united in our advocacy for the retention of free movement of British Overseas Territory Citizens throughout the EU after the UK exit.”

Mr Dunkley noted that the Overseas Territories derive considerable benefits due to their association with the EU, including funding, trade privileges, political access and profile in addition to free movement through the region.

“A major concern is that a UK exit from the EU would remove all of these benefits,” he said. “For some Territories European Development Fund (EDF) support represents 60 per cent of their overall budget.

“With the UK exit from the EU, these territories will face challenges in retaining access to future EDF allocations.”

He said that Lord Bates, the Minister of State for the Department for International Development, has indicated that the UK allocates €4.78 billion to its EDF contribution.

“Once the UK leaves the European Union their overall commitment to the EDF will be subject to discussion as to how it is spent on international developmental aid,” the Premier said.

“Territory Leaders have asked that the UK uphold its position that OTs can be the first call on this aid. In the view of the Territories, it is an important and moral obligation to push the UK Government to provide a firm commitment on the retention of the benefits those Territories currently derive from their Association with the EU.

“Moving forward we have to remember that life goes on after Britain departs the European Union. It is in no one's interest to have uncertainty on the future, particularly on the economic stability of Britain and its devolved administrations including Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.”

• For Mr Dunkley's statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.

Premier Michael Dunkley

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Published February 11, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated February 10, 2017 at 10:42 pm)

House — Premier explains Brexit concerns

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