The Political Council of the Leaders of the UK Overseas Territories gathered virtually this afternoon for a lengthy discussion about matters of common interest. This meeting is normally preparatory to a full engagement with the United Kingdom Government through the Joint Ministerial Council with the Overseas Territories.
Gibraltar was represented by the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, the Minister for Education and the Environment Professor John Cortes and UK Representative Dominique Searle.
A total of twelve territories attended today’s meeting, these being Anguilla, Ascension, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pictairn, St Helena, Tristan Da Cunha and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
There was a detailed discussion on the relationship of the territories with the United Kingdom following the UK’s departure from the European Union. This included questions of trade, financial programmes to replace EU funding and the evolving constitutional relationship. Those present were updated on plans for COP26 and on a number of other environmental questions.
Part of the meeting was devoted to a discussion of post-COVID recovery and resilience matters.
The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said: “The Government attaches considerable importance to maintaining a close working relationship with the other Overseas Territories as part of the wider British family of nations. This is a part of that formal engagement. There are clearly areas of discussion which are less relevant to Gibraltar because all territories are unique and have their own different interests. However, discussion on COVID, on the effects of the UK’s departure from the European Union and on the Environment are common challenges to us all. It is also essential to listen and to learn from the experience of others.”