External relations of Guernsey
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politics and government of
Guernsey is a British Crown dependency in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. As a bailiwick, Guernsey embraces not only all ten parishes on the Island of Guernsey, but also the islands of Alderney and Sark – each with their own parliament – and the smaller islands of Herm, Jethou and Lihou. Although its defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom, the Bailiwick is not part of the United Kingdom, but, as its description suggests, a possession of the Crown. Consequently, though it lies within the Common Travel Area of the European Union, it is not part of the European Union.
While Guernsey has complete autonomy over internal affairs and certain external matters, the topic of complete independence from the British Crown has been discussed widely and frequently, with ideas ranging from Guernsey obtaining independence as a Commonwealth realm to the bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey uniting and forming an independent Federal State within the Commonwealth, whereby both islands retain their independence with regards to domestic affairs but internationally, the islands would be regarded as one state.
Relations with Jersey
In September 2010 a Channel Islands Brussels Office was set up jointly by the two Bailiwicks to develop the Channel Islands' influence with the EU, to advise the Channel Islands' governments on European matters, and to promote economic links with the EU.
On 24 January 2013 Jersey signed double taxation agreements with Guernsey (updating the existing agreement) and with the Isle of Man. This was the first time all three Crown dependencies had established such mutual agreements which also included provision for exchange of tax information equivalent to TIEAs.
Trilateral Crown dependency relations
The three crown dependencies, while independent, share a relatively similar position with respect to the United Kingdom and with international bodies such as the EU or the OECD. As a result, the crown dependencies work together on areas of mutual interest. For example, in 2000, the three states cooperated on development of common policies for offshore banking. In 2003, they developed a joint approach to certain EU activities around tax information. The heads of government of the crown dependencies, including Isle of Man, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, and Jersey, meet at an annual inter-island summit, to discuss matters of common concern, such as financial regulation and relations with the UK.
Relations with the United Kingdom
The Deputy Chief Minister of Guernsey attended the UK Liberal Democrats conference in 2012 to communicate the message that "Guernsey and the Channel Islands are good neighbours to the UK". The Chief Minister of Guernsey, accompanied by the Commerce and Employment Minister, has been announced to attend the UK Conservative Party conference 2012.
Relations with the Republic of Ireland
Guernsey's Deputy Chief Minister and Jersey's Assistant Chief Minister travelled to Dublin in September 2012 as a first step in a more coordinated approach to international relations. The purpose of the visit was to meet Ireland's Minister for European Affairs ahead of Ireland's assumption of the European Union presidency in 2013 for mutual discussions.
Relations with the Commonwealth of Nations
The States of Guernsey have made calls for a more integrated relationship with the Commonwealth of Nations, including more direct representation and enhanced participation in Commonwealth organisations and meetings, including Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings.
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