23 March 2017
The Government of Jersey has welcomed the findings of the House of Lords European Union Committee in their report Brexit: the Crown Dependencies, published on Thursday 23rd March 2017.
The Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, made an oral submission to the Committee in December 2016 alongside the Chief Ministers of the other Crown Dependencies, where he emphasised the potential impacts of Brexit on Jersey, highlighted the positive engagement to date with the United Kingdom Government and noted Jersey’s desire to ensure that the relationship is maintained after the triggering of Article 50.
The report urges the United Kingdom Government to reflect on the implications for the Crown Dependencies of the UK’s post-Brexit policy priorities. In particular, the need for the UK Government to ensure that the Crown Dependencies are kept fully apprised of, and are given the opportunity where appropriate to participate in, future free trade agreements with countries beyond the EU.
Senator Gorst said "The Government of Jersey has a positive working relationship with the UK Ministry of Justice, which has responsibility for the Crown Dependencies within Whitehall, and I have regular meetings with Robin Walker MP, Minister at the Department for Exiting the European Union. The Lords report reinforces the importance of that dialogue and the impact it will have on the successful representation of Jersey’s position in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations as well as important opportunities for future trading arrangements."
The report acknowledges that the UK Government must engage in a careful balancing act between three interwoven priorities of the Crown Dependencies; maintaining their centuries-old constitutional relationship with the UK, retaining so far as possible the benefits of existing relationships with the EU, and the evolution of their respective international identities, while respecting the UK’s constitutional obligation to represent them in matters of defence and international relations.
The House of Lords Committee also calls on the UK Government to support Jersey and Guernsey in their efforts to ensure that the UK’s World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership is extended to cover them, as it already does the Isle of Man.
The Minister for External Relations, Sir Philip Bailhache, said "The extension of WTO membership is a key priority for Jersey and I am pleased to see that this is called for by the Lords EU Committee. It is also notable that the Committee recognises that Jersey should be given the opportunity, if it so wishes to do so, to participate in future trade agreements with countries beyond the EU. These recommendations are very much in line with our developing international identity as referenced in the 2007 Framework Agreement with the UK."