The Guernsey Commerce and Employment Minister, Deputy Kevin Stewart, visited Brussels on 5-6 November. His programme focused on building engagement with the new European Parliament.
Speaking after his visit, Deputy Stewart said:
“It was very important for the Channel Islands to engage as early as possible in the new European political term, particularly on issues such beneficial ownership, data protection and transport. It is important that we understand what is down the track for the Parliament and its powerful Committees, and to ensure better understanding of what the Channel Islands do, what we don’t do, and how we might actually be able to assist when we have shared objectives. It is very clear that engagement and understanding is the key to protecting our interests in Europe.”
Deputy Stewart added:
“I attended a number of meetings with members of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON), which is responsible for issues for which we in the Channel Islands have an interest such as the anti-money laundering agenda and a number of other financial services instruments. I was there to emphasise that we are responsible and co-operative neighbours, and to understand their priority dossiers and policy development work.
“As well as a range of issues surrounding financial services, I also discussed with MEPs the importance of our sea and air links between Guernsey and Europe. It was a good opportunity to see the excellent work undertaken by our Channel Islands Brussels Office, which works on a wide range of EU dossiers that affect the Channel Islands, from agricultural matters, finance through to the development of the new data protection regulations.”
Steve Williams, the Director of the Channel Islands Brussels Office, said:
“Engagement with the new European Parliament early in its term is essential, so the visit of Deputy Stewart is very timely and an important boost to the work of the Channel Islands Brussels Office.”
Deputy Stewart’s programme included meetings with:
• Judith Sargentini (Netherlands – Greens)) Member of the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE)
• Clare Moody (UK, Labour – S and D) Member of the Budget Committee
• Brian Hayes (Ireland – EPP) Member of ECON
• Richard Ashworth (UK, Conservative – ECR) Member of the Budget Committee
• Danuta Hübner (Poland – EPP) Chair of the Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO) and member of ECON
• Neena Gill (UK, Labour – S and D) Member of ECON
• Krišjānis Kariņš (Latvia – EPP) Member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and substitute member of ECON
The Minister also met with officials from the UK Permanent Representation.