Former Progressive Labour Party MP Renee Webb will head the new Bermuda Government office formally opened in Brussels, Belgium on Friday.

Making the announcement at the official opening, Premier David Burt said Ms Webb “brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in European affairs” to the table and that he was “confident she will accomplish the goal of deepening ties”.

“Additionally, through our internship programme, a Bermudian young person will have an opportunity to shadow Ms Webb here in Brussels, thus gaining invaluable experience on the world stage,” he added.

The new office was set up to facilitate ongoing engagement in the EU, which was needed over and above “shuttle diplomacy”.

Ms Webb holds a master’s degree in international relations and graduated from Queen’s University with a BA in political studies.

She also studied international human rights law at the Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, and was picked for an internship at the Unesco human rights department in Paris.

The Premier said Ms Webb has been hired for one year and that her duties include managing the Belgian office, advising the Bermuda Government on all relevant European matters and liaising with the island’s London office.

He also stated that the Government’s presence would deepen Bermuda’s relationships with EU institutions, members states and businesses.

“Bermuda has a long history of constructive engagement with the European Union, which is crystallised by the fact that we are one of but a handful of jurisdictions that have EU Solvency II equivalence,” said Mr Burt.

“The past year has witnessed constructive engagement on the issue of economic substance, which culminated in Bermuda passing into law the Economic Substance Act 2018. This important piece of legislation addressed economic substance concerns raised by the European Union’s Code of Conduct Group.

“We are confident that this legislation meets the criteria necessary to keep Bermuda off any list of noncooperative tax jurisdictions and reaffirms the positive relationship between Bermuda and the EU,” he added.

“As we continue our efforts to protect and strengthen Bermuda’s economy and drive economic growth, I am sure our presence here will do just that.

“We are looking forward to the added value our Brussels office will provide.”

The Premier was joined by the Minister of National Security, Wayne Caines, Renee Webb, Roland (Andy) Burrows, Chief Executive Officer of the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA), Ms. Kimberley Durrant, Bermuda Government, UK Representative and Ms. Sylvia Millot Head of Development Corporation Unit with responsibility for Overseas Countries and Territories within the European Commission.