On 6-7 June 2017 the Chief Minister of Guernsey, Deputy Gavin St Pier, and the Minister for External Relations of Jersey, Senator Sir Philip Bailhache, undertook a joint visit to Brussels. The visit was part of a regular programme of engagement by the governments of Jersey and Guernsey with the EU Institutions.
The programme included meetings with:
– the UK EU Commissioner, Sir Julian King;
– the UK Permanent Representative to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow;
– the Bulgarian Permanent Representative to the EU, Ambassador Dimiter Tzantchev;
– the Political Counsellor at the Estonian Permanent Representation to the EU, Mr Kristo Pollu;
– David McAllister MEP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs (AFET) Committee of the European Parliament;
– Syed Kamall MEP, Chair of the ECR Group in the European Parliament.
In their meetings the Ministers discussed the implications of Brexit for the Channel Islands, as well as market access by third countries including Jersey and Guernsey, on the basis of having equivalent legislative, regulatory and enforcement standards to the EU.
The meeting with Ambassador Tzantchev provided an opportunity to look ahead to the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU in the first half of 2018; while the meeting with Mr Pollu, provided an opportunity for a further exchange of views on the Estonian Presidency priorities for the second half of 2017, building on the Ministers’ meeting with Ambassador Tael in November 2016.
At their meeting with Commissioner King, Deputy St Pier and Senator Bailhache explained the contribution the Islands are making to EU security objectives, for which the Commissioner has overall coordinating responsibility. This included an overview of the significant commitment both Islands have made to the countering of financial crime and the funding of terrorism.
Speaking after the visit, Deputy St Pier commented: “We have built up good working relations with EU institutions, coordinated by CIBO, spanning the full range of government business. At political level, we have sought to maintain an active engagement by senior politicians, with Chief Ministers visiting Brussels at least once or twice a year, supplemented by visits by other Ministers. We used this opportunity not just to learn more about the EU current thinking on Brexit but also to discuss the work being undertaken to develop a list of non-cooperative jurisdictions in relation to taxation and the future of EU market access.”
Senator Bailhache commented, “We greatly valued the opportunity to meet with Sir Tim Barrow to discuss a number of important and pressing issues, in particular in relation to Brexit. Deputy St Pier and I welcomed the positive working relationship built up by our Brussels office with Sir Tim and his team at the UK Permanent Representation and their willingness to engage with the Channel Islands.”