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Guernsey attends 32nd British-Irish Council Summit in Manchester

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Friday 28 June 2019

Guernsey's President of the Policy & Resources Committee, Deputy Gavin St Pier, and Member of the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure, Deputy Shane Langlois, attended the 32nd British-Irish Council (BIC) Summit hosted by the UK Government in Manchester that focused on political developments within BIC Member Administrations, the United Kingdom's (UK) work towards its exit from the European Union (EU) and an update on energy policies across these islands.

David Lidington, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, hosted the Summit along with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the EU. The First Ministers of Scotland and Wales and An Taoiseach from the Irish Government were also in attendance. The Chief Ministers of Jersey and the Isle of Man represented the other two islands.

Due to the ongoing political talks in relation to the power-sharing arrangements in Northern Ireland, there was no political representation present at the Summit.

Member Administrations picked up from previous discussions at the Summit in the Isle of Man in November 2018 on the implications of the UK's exit from the EU, particularly with reference to the progress of negotiations between the UK and the EU and how the possible outcomes, including a no deal exit, could have an impact on each of the Member Administrations and the relationships between them.

Political representatives with responsibility for energy policy met in advance of the Summit meeting and discussed matters relating to smart energy systems and the ways in which they could help to enable the transition to low carbon energy, including possible barrier that existed to transitioning to such smart systems.

Deputy Gavin St Pier, President of the Policy & Resources Committee said:

"I was very pleased to attend the 32nd British-Irish Council Summit in Manchester today. Since the decision of the UK in June 2016 to withdraw from the EU I have seen at first-hand the significance of the BIC forum and the benefits that derive from it grow, particularly for Guernsey as a smaller jurisdiction. It provides an invaluable opportunity to enhance our engagement with representatives from across the UK and Ireland, and to continue to strengthen these relationships as the UK moves towards its exit from the EU, to ensure that Guernsey's interests continue to be heard and taken into account.

Further to the discussions of the Council in relation to energy policy, I took the opportunity to raise Guernsey's work in the area of green finance, which is continuing to develop. Guernsey is at the forefront of this work, and I was pleased that we will be able to lead discussions to investigate ways in which the Member Administrations could work together on this topic. This is an endorsement by the Council of Guernsey's expertise in this area.

I also updated the other Member Administrations of the work that Guernsey, alongside Jersey and the Isle of Man, has recently been undertaking in respect of public registers of beneficial ownership information of companies. The BIC forum has become vital for Guernsey to express its interests and its concerns at the highest level in relation to a wide range of policy matters, and also to gain its intelligence about what is happening elsewhere that may also affect the island. I look forward to the BIC forum continuing to develop and evolve as the political relationships between its Member Administrations change, and I am certain that it will continue to be an invaluable forum for Guernsey to be a part of."

Deputy Shane Langlois, Member of the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure, said:

"I was pleased to represent Guernsey at the Energy Ministerial meeting today, which was the first time I have attended such a meeting, and I found the discussions to be useful and productive.

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