The Chief Minister of Guernsey, Deputy Gavin St Pier, and the Minister for External Relations of Jersey, Senator Ian Gorst, visited Brussels on 24-25 January as part of the regular political engagement by the Channel Islands with the EU Institutions. Their programme, organised by CIBO, included meetings with the Permanent Representatives of the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark and Malta, with senior officials at the Permanent Representations of Germany and the United Kingdom, and with a senior political adviser to EU Tax Commissioner, Pierre Moscovici. The main issues discussed were Brexit and tax cooperation.
Speaking after the visit, Deputy St Pier said:
“I was pleased to once again represent Guernsey on this well-timed visit to Brussels, which provided the opportunity for more constructive engagement with EU Member States. With the current political uncertainty within the UK, and the ongoing work to prepare for different possible outcomes in the next few months, we are continuing to prepare ourselves to strengthen Guernsey’s relationships within the EU after the UK has left. This includes the recent announcement that the Guernsey settled status scheme will be offered free of charge, regardless of the outcome.
“Guernsey has important economic links with the EU, and we have worked extensively with the European Commission throughout 2018 on matters including concerns relating to economic substance. I am pleased that our positive engagement and cooperation with the EU throughout this process has been recognised and welcomed and look forward to continuing this dialogue with our European neighbours in the future.”
and Senator Gorst said:
“Jersey is committed to maintaining and further developing our relationships with EU member states, irrespective of the UK’s departure from the European Union. Although not part of the EU, the Channel Islands have strong links to Europe economically and it is important that we maintain our positive interactions with EU members during these months of uncertainty.
“These meetings provided us with an important opportunity to emphasize Jersey’s desire to strengthen our links with EU countries, as well as to reiterate our commitment to protecting the rights of EU citizens living in the islands: one of our key priorities for Brexit. The visit has also provided Jersey, and our sister island of Guernsey, the opportunity to illustrate the Channel Islands’ commitment to working cooperatively with the EU on tax and financial matters.
“Both Jersey and Guernsey are committed to ensuring that we have strong relationships across Europe, irrespective of Brexit, and visits such as this provide a valuable opportunity to secure and assert those relationships.”