29 March 2018
A year from today,
on Friday 29 March 2019, the United Kingdom will formally leave the EU, ending
its 45 year membership of the union.
Whilst Islanders did
not vote in the referendum on UK membership, we have been, and will continue to
be, affected by the ramifications of Brexit. It represents one of the most
fundamental challenges that Jersey has faced in a generation, requiring a
critical analysis of our international priorities, relationships and
referendum took place, we had already begun contingency planning, including for
a leave vote. That work ensured that we were in a strong position when the
result was announced, and were able to put into place the structures needed to
make the policy, resource and legal changes necessary to protect Jersey’s
Early on, we publicly
set out a series of key objectives, outlining our expectations for the
negotiating process and for the outcome of Brexit for Jersey. We have refined
and communicated these objectives as the negotiations between the UK and EU
We want to maintain
our fundamental relationship with the United Kingdom, including membership of
the Common Travel Area, a Common Customs Territory and freedom of movement of
We want to continue
the benefits of our relationship with the EU, including access to the goods
markets on the same terms as the UK, access to the EU financial services
markets, and to secure the same deal as the UK for the movement of our British
nationals in the EU.
And, we want to
ensure that Jersey has the right agreements and international relationships to
benefit from global opportunities, including strengthened relationships with
non-EU global markets, an expanded network of international agreements, and
entrustment to negotiate bilateral investment treaties between Jersey and key
relationship with the UK Government, which is fundamental to meeting these
objectives, is open, strong and mutually respectful. Senior officials with
responsibility for each of our six Brexit workstreams (Agriculture &
Fisheries, Communications, Customs & Trade, Financial Services, Immigration
and Transport) are in frequent contact with their UK counterparts, and meet on
a regular basis in a roundtable setting.
In addition, I meet
on a quarterly basis with Robin Walker MP, Minister at DEXEU, who has
responsibility for engagement with the Crown Dependencies. Mr Walker has visited
the Island twice in the past year. He and his department’s understanding of the
complexities of the Island’s constitutional relationship, and our particular
Brexit interests, has greatly aided the ease of our engagement, and I would
like to thank him for his continued dedication to this work.
Our work with the UK
Government has resulted in a public commitment by the Prime Minister to ensure
that the interests of the Crown Dependencies are represented in Brexit
negotiations, as well as the inclusion of the Channel Islands in the draft
Withdrawal Agreement and associated transition arrangements, which were
approved by the EU27 on 23 March 2018.
We have already
successfully brought the first piece of Brexit-related legislation to the
States Assembly. The European Union (Repeal and Amendment) (Jersey) Law was
adopted on 6 March and is awaiting Royal Assent, allowing the States to swiftly
implement changes to local EU-related laws.
The preparation of a series of secondary legislation is now underway,
and these will be brought before the new States Assembly from June 2018,
ensuring a smooth transition to Jersey’s new relationship with the EU.
Whilst we are making
steady, positive progress, we cannot be blind to the complex challenges that
will be faced by the Government in the coming year up to Brexit Day and through
the transition period.
Ensuring that the
Island has the right immigration and migration arrangements will be essential
to our post-Brexit position, as will ensuring that we have the correct customs
and trading arrangements.
I want to repeat the
commitment I made to the EU citizens living and working in Jersey following the
UK referendum. We value the important contribution you make to Island life. The
UK has laid out plans to recognise the rights of EU nationals already living in
the UK through a settled status scheme, and we will do the same.
We are also
committed to protecting and enhancing our important agricultural and fisheries
industries, on the basis that the current agricultural trade advantages
provided by Protocol 3 will fall away as consequence of Brexit.
In the last few
weeks we have begun to explore in detail the requirements of the Vienna
Convention on Road Traffic and any necessary changes the Island may need to
make to meet EU roadworthiness criteria. We want to consider all options to
ensure that Jersey meets the standards set out in the Convention and identify
the right option for the Island.
However, our focus
is not only on the challenges that we must address. As a government, we are
looking carefully at the opportunities that Brexit presents to Jersey.
Whilst our most
fundamental relationship remains the one we have with the United Kingdom,
Brexit has encouraged the development of closer partnerships with our European
neighbours. We have developed an intensive strategy of country engagement to
ensure that we continue to build successful relations with EU Member
2017 also saw the
creation of the Global Markets Team within the Ministry of External Relations,
which has made bold progress in a short timeframe to develop and implement a
strategy for engaging with a number of priority global markets. This has
included a series of successful Ministerial visits to Africa, USA, India and
the Middle East.
Finally, we remain
committed to engaging all stakeholders in our Brexit preparations, and will
continue to provide regular, accessible information to the public and Island
businesses as the negotiations progress.
believe that the work we have undertaken has ensured that Jersey is in the
strongest position possible as the countdown to Brexit Day begins. I would like
to thank Ministerial colleagues and officials across government for their
continued dedication to securing a successful and prosperous post-Brexit future