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Declaration on Isle of Man international personality has been a positive step forward 5 August 2008

Chief Minister Tony Brown MHK responded today (August 4, 2008) to counter suggestions that the Isle of Man’s independence had been diminished by a declaration -- signed more than a year ago with the United Kingdom -- which recognises that the Isle of Man has its own identity and interests in the international arena.

“Comments by Bernie Moffat to the media appear to be based on a misunderstanding of the Isle of Man’s constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom,”

the Chief Minister stated.

“As I said at the time of the signing on May 1, 2007: ‘the declaration represents a significant step forward in the Isle of Man’s evolution as a mature and responsible democracy. It confirms in writing that the Island has its own distinct and legitimate interests on the world stage, which may differ from those of the United Kingdom.’

Among the ten points of the declaration is the statement that the UK will not act internationally on behalf of the Isle of Man without prior consultation”,

he explained.

“Suggestions are being made that historically the UK government could not act without the agreement of the Crown Dependencies and that this 2007 declaration was a backwards step as it would now allow the UK to enter into international agreements after consultation but not necessarily with the concurrence of the Isle of Man”,

the Chief Minister stated.

“However, by convention the UK government, which has ultimate responsibility for the Isle of Man internationally, would always consult the Isle of Man, even though it was not required, on whether it wished international agreements to be extended to us. Rather than being a backward step as suggested, the 2007 declaration has confirmed in writing that the UK will not act without first consulting the Isle of Man.”

In conclusion, the Chief Minister said:

“As had been expected, the declaration has helped the Isle of Man to flourish as a reputable centre for international business. There is now greater clarity about the Island’s position, which has been useful in dealing with governments, organisations and businesses around the globe. This has indeed been the case, as the Isle of Man has been able to sign, on its own behalf, a number of tax agreements over the last year with other nations, including Ireland and the members of the Nordic Council.”

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