Representatives from Jersey and Guernsey attended the annual political summit between the Channel Islands, the department of La Manche and the region of Normandy on 6th October 2017.
The Chief Minister of Jersey, Senator Ian Gorst, the Member of the Policy & Resources Committee (Guernsey) with responsibility for External Relations, Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, and the Minister of Environment of Jersey, Deputy Steve Luce made an official visit to Caen. Guernsey and Jersey have a cooperation agreement with Normandy and La Manche to promote greater partnership working between the jurisdictions. Alderney and Sark are associate members of this agreement.
The delegation was welcomed to Caen by the President of the Normandy region, Hervé Morin, and the President of the departmental council of La Manche, Philippe Bas. They were joined by the Prefect of La Manche, Mr. Jean-Marc Sabathé, who represented the French State at the summit.
An update was provided on the various projects that have been carried out since the last summit in Jersey in 2016, including areas such tourism; cultural initiatives; educational links; and digital opportunities.
A number of joint artistic initiatives took place around archeological sites which resulted in a travelling exhibition. Jersey and Guernsey were also invited by Normandy to join a European cultural network to work alongside six other European countries on matters relating to the Second World War. The objective of this network is to discuss how to communicate the 'duty of remembrance' to future generations.
To support the existing educational links with Normandy, the Channel Islands are implementing a partnership agreement for apprenticeships in culinary arts.. The main objective of is to stimulate students' international mobility, improve their proficiency in French, and enable them to discover other cultures and working techniques in the course of their studies.
Other subjects of common interest were discussed such as emergency planning, immigration issues and energy.
Alongside the agenda items relating to the cooperation agreement, Brexit and its implications for the Channels Islands was also discussed.
Senator Ian Gorst said:
I am delighted to have the opportunity to meet with the President of Normandy and our colleagues in the region. As a community, we in Jersey highly value the relationship between the Island and our French neighbours, for trade, tourism and education. In a time when Brexit presents increasing challenges to links with Europe, I believe it is critically important that the Channel Islands are working to build closer ties through educational and cultural endeavors; many of which have already developed to fruition in the last year. I look forward to a continued strong relationship, for the mutual benefit of Normandy and the Channel Islands.
Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq said:
"Guernsey has important cultural, historic and social links with Normandy, and our cooperation agreement allows us to strengthen these links and to discuss new areas for potential joint working with some of our closest neighbours. I was honoured to represent Guernsey again at this year's summit and to discuss the progress of the different initiatives covered by our cooperation agreement with our colleagues in Normandy.
At this time of global change, as the negotiations for the UK's withdrawal from the EU continue, it is imperative for Guernsey to continue to strengthen and develop its own existing relationships. I look forward to continuing to work together with Normandy and La Manche to strengthen our relationship in ways that will benefit islanders and Normans alike. We do all this of course alongside our sister Bailiwick, Jersey, with whom we share permanent representation in France through our Bureau des Îles Anglo-Normandes based in Caen, as our interests are greatly aligned in these areas."