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‘Tentative welcome’ for Brexit deal

News | Published:

GUERNSEY’S senior politician is looking forward to examining the text of the new Brexit deal agreed between the UK and the EU, and admitted he has breathed a small sigh of relief.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, second right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the European Council summit. (Picture by Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)

Gavin St Pier, the president of Policy & Resources, welcomed the news of the deal because a no-deal exit could lead to disruption for the Crown Dependencies.

‘Our position has always been that if the United Kingdom is to leave the EU then it should do so in an orderly way,’ he said.

‘Therefore if there is an agreement, and if indeed that does pass the stages that it needs to pass in terms of the approval of the European Council, European Parliament and British Parliament, and therefore that provides that orderly exit, then that is in Guernsey’s interests.

‘But there are clearly quite a few hurdles that still need to be overcome, and the other caveat is that without having the opportunity to see any of the text there is an assumption that there are no pitfalls or risks in there in relation to our own position.

‘But I have no reason to believe that there would be because I think the focus has been on the Northern Irish position and the rest of the withdrawal agreement as previously negotiated remains unchanged.

‘But that obviously is a position that does need to be checked when we have opportunity to see the detail.’

Those pitfalls do not just relate to the financial sector, Deputy St Pier said Brexit’s impact could be broad. ‘It will affect Guernsey as a whole, it could well be beyond the financial sector.

‘In understanding the territorial extent of the agreement and its impact on those parts of the British Isles that are outside of the UK.

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‘It’s a tentative welcome, or a re-emphasis that the position remains that a disorderly Brexit is not in Guernsey’s interests and anything that avoids that has to be preferable.’

Deputy St Pier also posted on Twitter about the potential future trading arrangements between the UK and EU, with both sides talking about securing a free trade agreement in a joint political declaration.

Quoting that document, he tweeted: ‘In negotiating future relationship ensuring that level playing field commitments applicable to Guernsey are proportionate is key objective so: “commensurate with the scope and depth of the future relationship and the economic connectedness of the Parties” is relevant and positive.’

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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