06 May 2020
The Governments of Guernsey and Jersey have renewed their partnership agreement with the departmental council of Ille et Vilaine for another three years.
Representatives from both Islands were due to attend the annual summit between Guernsey, Jersey, and Ille et Vilaine in St Malo today where the agreement would have been signed, but due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions, the parties agreed to go ahead with the signing by videoconference. The agreement has been signed, enabling cooperation between the three jurisdictions to continue for a further three years. A formal meeting of representatives has been rescheduled for spring 2021.
Jersey has enjoyed fifteen years of joint working with one of its closest neighbours, Ille et Vilaine. Guernsey officially joined the partnership in 2017. The cooperation agreement facilitates joint working in a number of areas, including education and youth, culture and arts, as well as transport, and trade. It also enables discussions to take place on strategic issues such as the impact on the Channel Islands and the port of St Malo of the UK’s departure from the EU. In 2019, the Prefecture of Brittany attended the annual summit as an observer to provide updates on subjects within its mandate such as emergency planning and customs and immigration matters.
At the virtual signing ceremony, the departmental council of Ille et Vilaine was represented by its President, Jean Luc Chenut; Jersey was represented by the Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré and Minister for External Relations, Senator Ian Gorst; and Guernsey was represented by Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, member of the Policy and Resources Committee with responsibility for external relations.
Senator John Le Fondré said: "The Minister for External Relations and I had been looking forward to meeting and signing the agreement in person in St Malo today. We are pleased that we were still able to renew our partnership despite the COVID-19 related challenges that we are all dealing with at present and look forward to continuing our strong relationships and cooperation for at least the next three years. This partnership, now celebrating its fifteenth year, shows how effective ongoing and lasting neighbourly cooperation can be, and demonstrates the importance of working together for the benefit of our communities."
Deputy Le Tocq said: "Obviously, I would prefer to meet the other representatives in person, but I was glad that we could renew the cooperation agreement using videoconference instead. In these exceptional times, while we work hard to respond to the impact of COVID-19 in Guernsey and whilst others do the same in their jurisdictions, it is important also to look further – to our closest neighbours who we can see on the horizon and to the future of our shared relationship. The renewal of our cooperation agreement will enable us to continue joint working on projects that benefit all of us, and to prepare for the new world of business, commerce and inter-jurisdictional activities that will emerge out of the crisis."
Président Chenut said: "Cooperation with the Channel Islands makes it possible to create strong links for the benefit of the population of our respective jurisdiction. It creates favourable conditions to the development of actions and exchanges, where everyone learns from the other.
"The health crisis hitting the whole world pleads more than ever for a strengthening of cooperation on a European and international scale. In a context of uncertainty and downturn, we are precisely betting on solidarity and exchange between our jurisdictions as a solution to the challenges that the world is currently facing. The exemplary cooperation between our jurisdictions is an excellent illustration of the role that communities can play in building relationships of friendship and sharing between populations. Despite the constraints of the moment, we therefore wanted to maintain our annual plenary meeting by videoconference."