Wednesday 09 November 2022
The Minister for External Relations of Guernsey, Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, and the Minister for External Relations of Jersey, Deputy Philip Ozouf, visited Brussels on 7-8 November 2022.
The visit formed part of the regular political level engagement by the Channel Islands with the EU Institutions and was the first to take place since March 2020.
Their programme included meetings with the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Permanent Representative (Ambassador) to the EU of Malta; the Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU of Poland; the Swiss Ambassador to the EU; the Deputy Ambassador of the UK Mission to the EU; and the Head of the City of London office in Brussels.
During the two days Ministers discussed solidarity with EU partners on Ukraine, including sanctions; how the Islands can work with the EU on new shared challenges, such as energy security; and existing areas of cooperation on climate change, financial services and in particular sustainable finance. Discussions also focussed on the Islands' shared European heritage and the importance of people-to-people links between the Islands and European partners.
Ministers also met the EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans & Fisheries, Virginius Sinkevičius to reiterate political support for the ongoing technical discussions on fisheries matters.
Speaking after the visit, Deputy Ozouf said:
'The visit to Brussels was signalled as a key priority during the States Assembly debate on the new Government's External Relations Common Policy. Having face to face meetings with the most senior Brussels based representatives from across Europe has given us the opportunity to explain the value of Jersey to the EU and discuss numerous areas of mutual interest. Continued engagement with European partners and institutions can ensure Jersey is better understood. This matters so much for future jobs and growth in the Island, and I look forward to positively following-up on the range of topics including fishing, market access, digital and trade-in-services. I have been struck and heartened by the strong unanimous support shown to the people of Ukraine by the EU; Jersey clearly has an important role now and into the future in standing side by side with Ukraine.'
Deputy Le Tocq said:
'It was a pleasure to meet again with representatives in Brussels, the first time that we have been able to do so in person after two years of restricted travel as a result of the pandemic. This is an essential part of our valued engagement with EU partners, supporting our long-standing good neighbour policy as we continue to work with the EU institutions on various matters. I was pleased to be able to reiterate Guernsey's support to Ukraine, including on sanctions, and underline our alignment with EU partners. As discussions take place this week at COP27, we were pleased to continue engagement on financial services and focus on areas such as sustainable finance and addressing climate change alongside European stakeholders with whom we share our heritage.'