The Minister for External Relations of Guernsey, Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, and the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture of Jersey, Deputy Kirsten Morel, visited Brussels on 6 June 2023. The visit formed part of the regular political level engagement by the Channel Islands with the EU Institutions.
Their programme included the islands' first meeting with the Chair of the European Parliament's Culture and Education Committee and meetings with the Northern Ireland Executive Office in Brussels, and the European Language Equality Network.
During the visit Ministers discussed the islands' unique culture and heritage, including our indigenous languages Guernésiais and Jèrriais, and our links with Europe to broaden the understanding of the islands. Ministers also highlighted programmes which are currently being facilitated by arts organisations locally, to consider any areas for future collaboration with Brussels based organisations.
Speaking after the visit, Deputy Morel said:
"Developing a greater understanding of Jersey's autonomy and unique culture is key to the island being appreciated on its own terms in Europe. I'm delighted that we have been received so warmly by everyone we met, most particularly, Ms Sabine Verheyen MEP, Chair of the European Parliament's Culture and Education Committee.
"There's no doubt in my mind that Jersey and Guernsey can successfully improve their profiles in Europe through artistic and cultural engagement and I'm looking forward to building upon our islands' first engagement with the Culture and Education Committee, whilst also learning from other jurisdictions as to how to develop Jèrriais and Guernésiais.
Deputy Le Tocq commented:
"It was a pleasure to meet again with representatives in Brussels, in particular this time to discuss our cultural links with Europe. Regular engagement with EU partners is an essential part of our long-standing good neighbour policy as we continue to work with the EU institutions on various matters. It also supports our regular engagement with Embassies in London as we develop and strengthen our bilateral relationships with other jurisdictions. During these meetings I was pleased to discuss the artistic and cultural programmes that we are developing on island through the Arts Commission and other local organisations, which include increased collaboration with Jersey and our European neighbours, as well as to outline the support that is being provided to Guernésiais through the work of the Guernsey Language Commission. I hope that through this continued engagement with the EU institutions we are able to further develop projects to promote the islands to European partners."