To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what estimate he has made of the amount of staff time that has been used in assisting representatives of British overseas territories and Crown dependencies in preparation for meetings with the European Commission in the most recent period for which information is available.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, on how many occasions UK Government officials have prepared briefings or provided information to representatives of British overseas territories and Crown dependencies to assist in their dealings with the European Commission in the most recent period for which information is available.
The UK is responsible for the international relations of the Overseas Territories, which have a specific status within the European Union Treaties. The Overseas Association Decision is the instrument which sets out the relationship between the European Union and the Overseas Territories of the Member States. In 2015 I attended the annual Forum bringing together Territory leaders, senior representatives from the European Commission and the Member States. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials meet approximately six times a year with the Territories and the Commission to take forward cooperation under the Overseas Association Decision. Other government departments provide officials when required if the subject matter falls within their area of competence.
The United Kingdom is also responsible for the international relations of the Crown Dependencies which have a special relationship with the European Union under Protocol 3 to the United Kingdom’s Treaty of Accession to the European Community.
United Kingdom Government officials meet regularly with Crown Dependency and Overseas Territory representatives to discuss forthcoming business; information sharing is a matter of routine. The Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories make their own preparations for meetings with the European Commission but Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials assist when asked to do so. Support is also available from other government departments and the UK Permanent Representation to the European Union should it be required.