FCDO Minister for the European Neighbourhood Wendy Morton said:
With the signing of the historic UK-EU trade agreement completed the UK Government affirms its unwavering support for all of our Overseas Territories (OTs).
Under the Withdrawal Agreement, legislation will also come into effect at the end of the transition period to implement the Protocol and to safeguard the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus. Practical and technical discussions will continue to ensure the smooth operation of the Protocol.
The UK, in lockstep with the Government of Gibraltar, has held extensive discussions with Spain regarding Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU. All sides recognised the challenging nature of this process at the outset of talks. Although an agreement has not yet been reached, we are continuing our discussions with Spain in order to safeguard Gibraltar’s interests, and those of the surrounding region. In addition, we are also working closely with the Government of Gibraltar, in discussion with Spain and the EU, to mitigate the effects of the end of the Transition Period on Gibraltar, including at the border.
Despite trying everything we could, the European Commission refused to negotiate a future relationship that included the OTs. We sought to change the Commission’s position, but it declined to engage.
We remain unwavering in our commitment to safeguarding their interests. As the UK exits the transition period, Tristan da Cunha will continue to have tariff-free access to the EU market for its main export, lobster.
We continue to work closely with the Falkland Islands to manage the effects of new EU tariffs on their fish exports (including a 6% tariff on squid) while also helping the islands – and all of our OTs – to maximise the benefits of our newly independent trade policy.
In addition, we will take into account any shortfalls that arose from the end of EU funding, as we plan future UK spending in the OTs. We will focus this funding on the greatest needs and to deliver the greatest impact.
The OTs are a much-valued part of the whole British family and we will continue to do all we can to protect their interests.