External relations of Jersey
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Jersey is a self-governing parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy, with its own financial, legal and judicial systems, and the power of self-determination, which has relations with other countries, territories and international organisations.
Although diplomatic representation is reserved to the Crown, Jersey has been developing its own international identity over recent years. It negotiates directly with foreign governments on matters within the competence of the States of Jersey. Jersey maintains the Bureau de Jersey in Caen, France, a permanent non-diplomatic representation, with a branch office in Rennes. A similar office, the Maison de Normandie in St. Helier, represents the Conseil général of Manche and the Regional Council of Lower Normandy. It also houses the Consulate of France. In July 2009, a Channel Islands Tunnel was proposed to connect Jersey with Lower Normandy.
Jersey is a member of the British-Irish Council, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie. Jersey wants to become a full member of the Commonwealth in its own right.
- the UK has no democratic accountability in and for Jersey;
- the UK will not act internationally on behalf of Jersey without prior consultation;
- Jersey has an international identity that is different from that of the UK;
- the UK recognises that the interests of Jersey may differ from those of the UK, and the UK will seek to represent any differing interests when acting in an international capacity; and
- the UK and Jersey will work together to resolve or clarify any differences that may arise between their respective interests.
The preamble to the States of Jersey Law 2005 declares that 'it is recognized that Jersey has autonomous capacity in domestic affairs' and 'it is further recognized that there is an increasing need for Jersey to participate in matters of international affairs'.
In January 2011, the Chief Minister designated one of his assistant ministers as having responsibility for external relations; he is now often described as the island's 'foreign minister'. In 2013 the Chief Minister proposed converting the post of assistant minister with responsibility for external relations to a full ministerial post.
Tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs) have been signed directly by the island with several countries, including: the United States of America (2002); the Netherlands (2007); Denmark, the Faroes, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway (2008); the United Kingdom, France, Australia and New Zealand (2009); Portugal (2010); People's Republic of China, Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Indonesia, Czech Republic, South Africa, Argentina, and India (2011); Brazil and Latvia (2013).
Relations with Guernsey
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 agrrements which also included provision for exchange of tax information equivalent to TIEAs.
Relations with the United Kingdom
The relationship between the Crown dependencies and the UK is "one of mutual respect and support, ie, a partnership".
Until 2001, responsibility for the UK government's relationships with the Crown dependencies rested with the Home Office, but was then transferred first to the Lord Chancellor's Department, then to the Department for Constitutional Affairs, and finally to the Ministry of Justice. In 2010 the Ministry of Justice stated that relationships with the Crown dependencies are the responsibility of the United Kingdom Government as a whole, with the Ministry of Justice holding responsibility for the constitutional relationship and other ministries engaging with their opposite numbers in the Crown dependencies according to their respective policy areas.
Since 2011 the government of Jersey has sent representatives to the main party conferences of the United Kingdom, its "most significant economic partner", as part of a commitment to enhancing political engagement with the UK. In 2012 the Assistant Chief Minister attended the conference of the UK Liberal Democrats, the Chief Minister attended the UK Labour Party conference, and the Deputy Chief Minister and Treasury and Resources Minister were announced to attend the UK Conservative Party conference. 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.
The question of an independent Jersey has been discussed from time to time in the Assembly of the States of Jersey. In 2005–2008, a working group of the States of Jersey examined the options for independence, concluding that Jersey 'is equipped to face the challenges of independence' but making no recommendations. Proposals for Jersey independence continue to be discussed outside the States.
In July 2005, the Policy and Resources Committee of the States of Jersey established the Constitutional Review Group, chaired by Sir Philip Bailhache, with terms of reference 'to conduct a review and evaluation of the potential advantages and disadvantages for Jersey in seeking independence from the United Kingdom or other incremental change in the constitutional relationship, while retaining the Queen as Head of State'. The Group's 'Second Interim Report' was presented to the States by the Council of Ministers in June 2008.
In October 2012 the Council of Ministers issued a "Common policy for external relations" that noted "that it is not Government policy to seek independence from the United Kingdom, but rather to ensure that Jersey is prepared if it were in the best interests of Islanders to do so". On the basis of the established principles the Council of Ministers decided to "ensure that Jersey is prepared for external change that may affect the Island’s formal relationship with the United Kingdom and/or European Union".
Relations with the Commonwealth
Jersey is not a member of the Commonwealth of Nations in its own right, but through its association with the United Kingdom. It participates in various Commonwealth institutions in its own right, for example, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Commonwealth Games.
Jersey regards the existing situation as unsatisfactory and has lobbied for change. The States of Jersey have called on the UK Foreign Secretary to request that the Commonwealth Heads of Government "consider granting associate membership to Jersey and the other Crown Dependencies as well as any other territories at a similarly advanced stage of autonomy". Jersey has proposed that it be accorded "self-representation in all Commonwealth meetings; full participation in debates and procedures, with a right to speak where relevant and the opportunity to enter into discussions with those who are full members; and no right to vote in the Ministerial or Heads of Government meetings, which is reserved for full members".
Relations with the European Union
Jersey is neither a Member State nor an Associate Member of the European Union. It does, however, have a relationship with the EU governed by Protocol 3 to the UK’s Treaty of Accession in 1972. Protocol 3 and other relevant treaty provisions are made part of Jersey Law by the European Communities (Jersey) Law 1973. The relationship between the Channel Islands and the EU cannot be changed without the unanimous agreement of all Member States and Island authorities.
Under Protocol 3, Jersey is part of the European Union Customs Union of the European Community. The common customs tariff, levies and other agricultural import measures apply to trade between the island and non-Member States. There is free movement of goods and trade between the island and Member States. EU rules on freedom of movement for workers do not apply in Jersey. Nor is Jersey part of the single market in financial services. It is not required to implement EU Directives on such matters as movement of capital, company law or money laundering. Jersey plans to incorporate such measures where appropriate, with particular regard to the island's commitment to meeting international standards of financial regulation and countering money laundering and terrorist financing.
British citizens who have only a connection to Jersey, and not with the United Kingdom or another Member state of the European Union, are not considered to be European Union citizens. They have 'Islander status' and their Jersey-issued British passports are endorsed with the words the holder is not entitled to benefit from EU provisions relating to employment or establishment.
Jersey residents do not have a right to vote in elections for the European Parliament. Jersey and Guernsey jointly opened an office in Brussels in 2010 to promote their common interests with European Union institutions. Jersey is particularly concerned about European Union legislation and reforms that may affect its trading partners in international financial centres round the world.
- "Jersey Facts and Figures". Retrieved 6 November 2011.
- "COMMON POLICY FOR EXTERNAL RELATIONS". States of Jersey. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "Jersey-France tunnel plan talks". BBC News. 14 July 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- Jersey Evening Post, 23 September 2006
- "Framework for developing the international identity of Jersey" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-03-23.
- 'Meet our new foreign minister', Jersey Evening Post, 14 January 2011 http://www.thisisjersey.com/2011/01/14/meet-our-new-foreign-minister/; Editorial, 'A new role of great importance', Jersey Evening Post, 17 January 2011 http://www.thisisjersey.com/2011/01/17/a-new-role-of-great-importance/
- "Backbenchers question the need for Foreign Minister". Channel Television. 9 January 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
- "TAX INFORMATION EXCHANGE AGREEMENTS (TIEAs)". Retrieved 6 November 2011.
- "Tax agreements signed with Brazil and Latvia". Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- "Guernsey and Jersey begin recruiting for senior Brussels positions" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-04.
- "Double Tax Agreements with Guernsey and Isle of Man". 24 January 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- "Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man sign taxation agreement". BBC. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- The Committee Office, House of Commons (2010-03-30). "Royal Commission on the Constitution 1969-73; re-affirmed in the Framework for developing the international identity of Guernsey, signed in December 2008". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2013-03-23.
- "Government Response to the Justice Select Committee’s report: Crown Dependencies" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-03-23.
- "Jersey represented at Lib Dems conference". States of Jersey. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
- "Channel Island Ministers to meet with Irish Government". States of Guernsey. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
- "Second Interim Report of the Constitution Review Group". Statesassembly.gov.je. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
- Editorial, 'Legal ideas of political importance', Jersey Evening Post, 21 September 2010 http://www.thisisjersey.com/2010/09/21/legal-ideas-of-political-importance/; Andy Sibcy, 'Sovereignty or dependency on agenda at conference', Jersey Evening Post, 17 September 2010 http://www.thisisjersey.com/2010/09/17/sovereignty-or-dependency-on-agenda-at-conference/
- Second Interim Report of the Constitution Review Group (States Greffe, Jersey) http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/display_result.asp?url=\documents\reports\46527-24954-2762008.htm
- "Written evidence from States of Jersey". Chief Minister of Jersey. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
- Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Article 355(5)(c) states "the Treaties shall apply to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man only to the extent necessary to ensure the implementation of the arrangements for those islands set out in the Treaty concerning the accession of new Member States to the European Economic Community and to the European Atomic Energy Community signed on 22 January 1972".
- "European Communities (Jersey) Law 1973". Retrieved 23 December 2011.
- See Sutton, Alastair (2005), "Jersey's changing constitutional relationship with Europe", Jersey and Guernsey Law Review 9 (1)
- Rui Alberto Pereira Roque v His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey, Case C-171/96 (European Court of Justice) http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:61996J0171:EN:HTML
- States of Jersey (4 February 2008). "Status of Channel Islands in the European Union". Retrieved 20 December 2011.
- States of Jersey. "Islander status". Retrieved 23 August 2011.
- "Channel Islands appoint representative in Brussels", BBC News, 25 January 2011