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CI leaders in Brussels to make case to stay off EU blacklist

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LEADING politicians from Jersey and Guernsey have visited Brussels this week to promote the Channel Islands’ interests ahead of Brexit and make their case for staying off an EU tax blacklist.

The European Commission headquarters in Brussels.

On Thursday, Policy & Resources president Gavin St Pier and Jersey’s External Relations minister Senator Ian Gorst met ambassadors of the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark and Malta and with senior officials from Germany and the UK to discuss the potential impacts of Brexit on the Channel Islands.

The meetings also provided an opportunity to discuss tax matters, including the islands’ concern over the recent inclusion of Jersey and Guernsey on the Dutch national blacklist.

Yesterday, a meeting took place with a senior political adviser to the EU, Tax Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, to discuss how the islands have moved to address EU concerns over economic substance – essentially showing that companies based here have factors such as staffing levels that match their profits.

These commitments include the implementation of economic substance regimes, which have recently been put into place in both Jersey and Guernsey as cooperative partners of the EU.

Deputy St Pier said: ‘I was pleased to once again represent Guernsey on this well-timed visit to Brussels, which provided the opportunity for more constructive engagement with EU member states.

‘With the current political uncertainty within the UK, and the ongoing work to prepare for different possible outcomes in the next few months, we are continuing to prepare ourselves to strengthen Guernsey’s relationships within the EU after the UK has left. This includes the recent announcement that the Guernsey settled status scheme will be offered free of charge, regardless of the outcome.

‘Guernsey has important economic links with the EU and we worked extensively with the European Commission throughout 2018 on matters including concerns relating to economic substance.

‘I am pleased that our positive engagement and cooperation with the EU throughout this process has been recognised and welcomed and look forward to continuing this dialogue with our European neighbours in the future.’

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The EU code of conduct group on business taxation will review its blacklist, and the commitments made by jurisdictions to stay off it, at its next meeting on Wednesday.

Senator Gorst said: ‘Jersey is committed to maintaining and further developing our relationships with EU member states, irrespective of the UK’s departure from the European Union.

‘Although not part of the EU, the Channel Islands have strong links to Europe economically and it is important that we maintain our positive interactions with EU members during these months of uncertainty.

‘These meetings provided us with an important opportunity to emphasise Jersey’s desire to strengthen our links with EU countries, as well as to reiterate our commitment to protecting the rights of EU citizens living in the islands: one of our key priorities for Brexit.

‘The visit has also provided Jersey, and our sister island of Guernsey, the opportunity to illustrate the Channel Islands’ commitment to working cooperatively with the EU on tax and financial matters.

‘Both Jersey and Guernsey are committed to ensuring that we have strong relationships across Europe, irrespective of Brexit, and visits such as this provide a valuable opportunity to secure and assert those relationships.’

Nick Mann

By Nick Mann
author

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