Following the outcome of the UK EU referendum, the Chief Ministers of Guernsey and Jersey issued the following statements:
States of Guernsey
“A decision to leave the EU will take a number of years to take effect. Guernsey is well placed to ensure that any impact that this might have on its trading relationships is minimised, and will put in place any required alternative trading agreements. The UK decision to leave the EU should not directly impact Guernsey’s historic relationship with the UK, which predates its relationship with the EU.
Guernsey is not a member of the EU and not part of the UK. Under its Protocol 3 relationship with the EU Guernsey is part of the customs territory which allows for the free movement of goods. For most purposes the islands are treated as third countries and outside of the EU. Guernsey has negotiated market access, or equivalence, with the EU in a number of areas, including the trade in services. Guernsey’s long standing policy has been that it is not seeking to change its formal relationship with the EU.
Guernsey was a third country to the EU before the vote, it remains a third country to the EU now, and, it will remain a third country and outside the EU when the UK eventually leaves the Union. However, Guernsey’s Protocol 3 relationship, shared with the other Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, will fall away when the UK leaves the EU and will need to be replaced by new trade in goods arrangements.
The majority of Guernsey’s trade is through the UK and this trading relationship is not in question. However, in order to remain as stable as possible Guernsey will need to seek to replace the current trading relationship in goods with the EU with some other arrangements. This will be dependent on the new relationship that the UK seeks with the EU.
A Policy Letter will be published shortly to seek a mandate from the States of Deliberation to negotiate with the UK and to protect the interests of the islands. The negotiations with the UK will aim to:
•protect Guernsey’s interest in the UK exit agreement with the EU
•replace Protocol 3 in the new UK / EU relationship
•safeguard the longstanding constitutional relationship with the UK
•seek new opportunities as the UK establishes new trading relationships with the rest of the world
Deputy St Pier, President, Policy & Resources Committee said:
“Following the UK decision to leave the EU in this referendum nothing will change overnight in the relationships that Guernsey has with the EU, or the UK for that matter. I welcome the opportunity for debate in the States on how we will manage this transition to ensure Guernsey can seek to remain the same. We will be monitoring the economic impact of this significant constitutional change for the UK and we will be engaging with business, with the Committee for Economic Development, to understand this knock on effect to our economy.”
Deputy Trott, Vice President and lead for international business affairs, Policy & Resources Committee said:
“The most important part of our external relations has always been to protect and promote our economic interests. Whilst we have our own interests and a different relationship with the EU, the identity framework document we signed with the UK when I was Chief Minister provides a platform on which we can work together to position Guernsey when the UK leaves the EU, in order to replace Protocol 3 and to secure new trading relationships and access to markets. The trading relationships we have are of a wide strategic importance to our economic interests. This needs to be front and centre of the work we do in the coming months.”
Deputy Le Tocq, lead for external relations, Policy & Resources Committee said:
“The States of Guernsey, alongside the States of Jersey, have been working with the Channel Islands Brussels Office in the run up to the referendum since 2012. We understand our relationships with the EU much more clearly and we have strengthened our relationships with the UK Government in this area. This places us in a good position to ensure that the best interests of the islands and its residents are taken into account during the months and years of negotiations that lie ahead. Whilst there will not be major change for Guernsey, in order to safeguard the best interests of the islands the States will need to ensure we give priority to this work and ensure adequate resources are available to support the our engagement with the UK as it leaves the EU.””
Government of Jersey
“The people of the United Kingdoms vote to end their membership of the European Union is a significant development.
“There is now likely to be a period of some uncertainty across the UK and Europe, but Jersey is well placed to weather the effects of this change.
“We are already outside the EU for most purposes, and the relationship that Jersey enjoys with the EU is not going to change overnight. It is expected that there will be a period of up to two years before the UK formally exits the EU, which means that the formal arrangements governing Jersey’s relationship with the EU – Protocol 3 to the UK Treaty of Accession – will remain in place during that time.
“Jersey’s Government and industry have been busy establishing the foundations for the Island’s future prosperity by diversifying our economy into new service sectors such as digital, and growing and strengthening our links with dynamic markets around the world, in areas like the Middle East, Asia and Africa. This clear plan, together with substantial reserves and a prudent approach to our finances, means that Jersey is in a strong position to take action to stimulate its economy if needed, and to secure our long-term economic future.
Maintaining current relationships
“Jersey ministers and officials have worked hard to ensure that the UK Government understands Jersey’s interests and will take them into account in its future negotiations with the EU. We have been clear that, whatever the result of those negotiations, the Government of Jersey believes that the Island’s best interests lie in maintaining the substance of our current relationships with the EU, as set out in Protocol 3, and with the United Kingdom.
“The Council of Ministers have met to discuss what today’s announcement means for Jersey, and to reach an agreement on the work that we will now undertake. I will meet States members later today, and a report will soon be published setting out the Government’s position in more detail. Ministers will also be meeting the public around the Island to discuss what this vote means for Islanders and to outline the Government’s plan to secure the best possible outcome for Jersey.
“In the coming days, I will write to the Prime Minister to set out Jersey’s position more formally, and we will continue to work closely with the UK Government in the weeks and months ahead to ensure that we are kept informed of developments and to safeguard Jersey’s interests as negotiations progress.
“Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to say to those currently living and working in Jersey, who are nationals of EU Member States or of countries further afield, that we are determined to preserve their contribution to the Island community, which is both welcome and greatly valued.”