07 June 2017
The Chief Minister of Guernsey, Deputy Gavin St Pier, and the Minister for External Relations of Jersey, Senator Sir Philip Bailhache, have undertaken a joint visit to Brussels, which included meetings with EU Commissioner Sir Julian King and Sir Tim Barrow, the UK Permanent Representative to the EU.
The visit was part of a regular programme of engagement by the governments of Jersey and Guernsey with the EU Institutions and Member States’ representatives. The visit was organised by the Channel Islands Brussels Office (CIBO), which was established in 2011 to strengthen the Channel Islands’ direct engagement with the EU in order better to protect and promote joint interests.
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.
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.”
The Ministers attended a dinner hosted by Sir Tim Barrow at his official residence in Brussels. 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.”
Deputy St Pier and Senator Bailhache also met with a senior German MEP, David McAllister, Chair of the European Parliament’s (EP) Committee on Foreign Affairs; Syed Kamall MEP, the Chair of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group in the EP; and His Excellency Dimiter Tzantchev, Permanent Representative of Bulgaria to the EU. In these 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 was timely, given that Bulgaria will hold the EU Presidency for the first time in the first half of 2018.
The visit will conclude on Wednesday 7 June 2017 when Deputy St Pier is due to meet the Estonia Permanent Representation to discuss the Estonian presidency which commences in July 2017.