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Islands attend summit with Normandy and La Manche

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Saturday 05 October 2019

Guernsey and Jersey have attended the annual political summit with the region of Normandy and the department of La Manche to re-sign a cooperation agreement that promotes greater partnership working between the three jurisdictions.

A cooperation agreement was first signed with Jersey, La Manche and the region of Lower Normandy in January 2015, and this was renewed in September 2016 following the unification of the regions of Upper and Lower Normandy. Alderney and Sark are associate members of the agreement. As part of the cooperation the six jurisdictions have meet annually to explore opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation. This year, the department of La Manche hosted the summit in Cherbourg.

Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, member of the Policy & Resources Committee in Guernsey with responsibility for External Relations, Senator Ian Gorst, Minister for External Relations in Jersey, Hervé Morin, President of the Region of Normandy and Marc Lefèvre, President of the Conseil Départemental of La Manche, jointly chaired the summit where various subjects were discussed. These included Brexit and its implications for the Channel Islands, including fishing and contingency planning for a no-deal exit. Areas of regional cooperation were also discussed such as educational links, cultural initiatives and economic opportunities. James Dent, Chairman of the Policy & Finance Committee and Vice-President of the States of Alderney, also attended the meeting.

Member of the Policy & Resources Committee with responsibility for External Relations in Guernsey, Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq said:

"It was a pleasure for me to attend the annual summit of the governments of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and Jersey and the authorities of Normandy and La Manche and renew the cooperation agreement for the next three years at this time of significant for us all.

As we work towards the UK's withdrawal from the EU we are seeking stability and to minimise disruption caused by the UK exit.  This includes seeking agreement to manage how fisheries matters will be affected. It is our desire to be able to settle these issue directly to protect our interests, ensure we conserve our marine environment and balance our interests in cross border trade.

I look forward to continuing these discussions as we look to strengthen our relationship with Normandy and France, for our mutual benefit and where our interests are aligned."

Senator Ian Gorst, Minister for External Relations in Jersey, said:

"This Summit with the leaders of Normandy and La Manche gave us the opportunity to strengthen the long-standing relationship Jersey has with our nearest neighbours. We reviewed progress our cooperation over higher education, student exchanges, culture, environment - including marine renewable energy, tourism and other areas of our economies.

The renewal of the cooperation agreement further emphasises the Channel Islands' and Normandy's commitment to working closely and productively together. The political leaders all affirmed that such co-operation is particularly important at the time of the UK's exit from the EU. I agreed with my Norman colleagues that the cooperation between Jersey and France under the Bay of Granville Agreement was an example of mutual benefits that can derive from working together. We agreed to continue discussions about this.

I welcome the Normandy regional authority's commitment to smooth market access for Jersey fishermen, and am happy to say we have agreed to support a project which will facilitate landings in Granville."

Hervé Morin, President of the Region of Normandy, said:

"I am delighted that we have a consensus with our cousins from the Channel Islands on the willingness to maintain the Granville Bay Agreement with Jersey and implement a similar type of agreement with Guernsey. We are going to talk to our respective ministers as well as Brussels in order to obtain the possibility of reaching a local agreement on the latter when the competency relies on Member States and the European Union."

Marc Lefèvre, President of the Conseil Départemental of La Manche, said:

"We can only congratulate ourselves for signing the renewal of this cooperation agreement and on our common willingness to maintain the Granville Bay Agreement with Jersey. Succeeding to maintain this would be a win-win situation for all of us. We will ask our State as well as Brussels that we should resolve these kind of agreements locally and therefore do the same with Guernsey." 

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