For over 45 years that the UK is an EU member state, the Isle of Man remains outside. In fact, the island is neither part of the UK or the EU, although its 90,000 islanders are British citizens.
The Isle of Man is a crown dependency, which means sovereignty on most domestic matters. The islands link to the EU has always been mediated by its relationship to the UK. That is true of issues such as citizenship and, indirectly, industry and services.
Despite its small size, the Isle of Man has a diverse economy. Over and beyond traditional islandic industries – fishing, tourism, faming – the island has a flourishing business of financial services, online gambling, and even specialized manufacturing. The island is part of the equation but not part of the debate surrounding Brexit. Here is how Brexit outcome will affect the island.
Hon Howard Quayle is the Chief Minister of the Isle of Man. In an interview with European Interest, the Chief Minister explains the Isle of Man is not a member of the EU and the UK’s membership does not extend to include the Isle of Man.
European Interest: Given the sovereign status of the Isle of Man, how will Brexit affect the Isle of Man Economy? Can the Isle’s financial sector enjoy equivalence provisions that are better than the UK?
Hon Howard Quayle: For clarification, we do not have sovereign status; the Isle of Man is a dependency of the British Crown, and the UK Government is ultimately responsible for defence, international representation and the good governance of the Isle of Man.
The Isle of Man is not a member of the EU, because only sovereign nations can be a Member State. In addition, the UK’s membership does not extend to include the Isle of Man.
However, under protocol three of the UK’s Treaty of Accession the Island was included in the EU customs union, but not included in any form of market access for financial services. It is classified, therefore, as a third country for services and will remain as a third country after Brexit. The Isle of Man is well regulated, transparent and meets all of its international obligations.
For decades, EU citizens to the Isle of Man enjoyed the same status as UK citizens. Will that change?
The Isle of Man scheme will closely align to the UK scheme based on the agreement the UK has reached for EU citizens and their families: EU citizens and their family members who by 31 December 2020 have been continuously resident in the UK for 5 years will be eligible for ‘settled status‘ under immigration law, (referred to as indefinite leave to remain (ILR), EU citizens and their family members who arrive by 31 December 2020, but won’t have been continuously resident for 5 years, will be eligible for ‘pre-settled status‘ under immigration law (referred to as leave to remain (LTR) and close family members (spouses, civil and unmarried partners, dependent children and grandchildren, and dependent parents and grandparents) living overseas will still be able to join EU citizens resident here where the relationship existed on 31 December 2020 and continues to exist when the person comes to the Isle of Man – future children are also protected.
Unlike other crown dependencies, the Isle of Man has a significant manufacturing base, including making high-technology aircraft parts. Will this sector be affected by Brexit?
We do have a small but important manufacturing sector. However, any impact will depend on individual business models and whether or not the UK leaves the EU with a withdrawal agreement, and what the agreement may look like.
What about your online gaming industry?
The Isle of Man is a third country for the purposes of online gaming, but it is also worth noting that this area is not regulated at an EU level. We meet all of our international obligations in finance and as well as e-gaming.
What’s the Manx government position on fisheries? How do you balance relations between Ireland and the UK?
Rules on fisheries are managed by the fishery management agreement 2012. The agreement has two key paragraphs which state that the management of fisheries in the UK’s extended territorial sea must comply with the common fisheries policy of the EU, however the Isle of Man can introduce certain conservation measures. Once the Common Fisheries Policy is not binding on the UK, it is recognised that a new fisheries management agreement will need to be agreed.