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BREXIT: Latest News, Information, Statements and Speeches relating to the UK leaving the EU

The States of Guernsey service responsible for administrating, co-ordinating, liaising on all matters relating to the UK leaving the EU (Brexit) is the States of Guernsey Policy & Resources Committee External Relations Team. The Team liaises directly with other States of Guernsey Committees, the States of Alderney, Sark Chief Pleas and HM Government supporting all aspects of the issues which arise for the Bailiwick from the UK's exit from the EU, which covers many technical areas such as: Customs Union (Trade), Free Movement of People, Agriculture and Fisheries, Transport, Communications and Financial Services.

The user guide and supplementary information is currently being reviewed in light of ongoing Brexit developments (and the evolving position) within the UK.  Please note that some of the information and guidance provided may therefore change.  Updates will be published and publicised during September 2019.

  • Background

    • Guernsey is not part of the European Union however, there is a formal relationship between the Channel Islands and the EU which is governed by 'Protocol 3' to the Act of Accession to the European Economic Community in 1972 ("Protocol 3"). Over the last 43 years, Guernsey has built up its own direct relationship with the EU.
    • Under Protocol 3, Guernsey is part of the EU Customs Union and can trade in goods and agricultural products with the UK and other EU Member States.
    • Under Protocol 3, the Bailiwick of Guernsey is required to treat all natural and legal persons from the EU in the same way, which means that the Channel Islands cannot treat someone from the UK, for example, differently from someone from any other EU Member State. However, Guernsey is not bound by other aspects of EU free movement rules and can maintain restrictions on the right to reside and work, in accordance with Bailiwick law.
    • Protocol 3 excludes "Channel Islanders" from the provisions allowing free movement of persons. However, a person who was born (or who has at least one parent or grandparent who was born (or who has at least one parent or grandparent who was born) in the UK, or who has resided in the UK for 5 years is not a "Channel Islander" for the purposes of Protocol3 and enjoys free movement throughout the EU (including the right to work and reside). Many Guernsey residents have a certain EU rights due to their connection with the UK.
    • Outside of the formal Protocol 3 relationship, Guernsey is treated as a jurisdiction outside of the EU and one that is not a European Economic Area (EEA) Country. This means Guernsey is treated as a 'third country'.
  • Guernsey's Relationship with the EU 'Protocol 3'

    • Introduction
    • In 1967 Guernsey was faced with the prospect of the United Kingdom joining the European Economic Community (EEC). The United Kingdom Government at that time held out to the insular authorities no prospect of a limited connection with the EEC which they contended would require a modification of the Treaty of Rome which, in all inevitability, would not be granted.  It seemed in 1967 there were two options - to become part of the EEC or to seek independence.
    • The loss of long established virtual sovereignty was plainly at risk if the Crown Dependencies joined the EEC.  There was great concern locally.  In the event the UK's application to join was rejected.  
    • In 1971, when the UK Government renewed its application to join the Community, similar issues confronted the Dependencies.  
    • Happily, as a result of representations made to the Home Office and able negotiating by the UK Government's chief negotiator, The Right Honourable Geoffrey Rippon, a deal acceptable to the Dependencies was negotiated.
    • On 19th November 1971, Geoffrey Rippon addressed the States of Deliberation in special session. He said
    • "Under the proposals your fiscal autonomy has been guaranteed. I can say quite categorically that there will be no question of your having to apply a value-added tax or any part of Community policy on taxation."
    •  He offered "a choice of accepting or rejecting the terms that have been negotiated".
    • and stated that it was not for him
    • "to try to influence you in that decision, because the decision is yours, and yours alone.  I can only say to you today that I know what my decision would be".
    • On 15th December 1971 the States of Guernsey concurred by voting unanimously to accept the negotiated terms.
    • Protocol 3 to the UK Treaty of Accession to the EEC
    • Guernsey is neither a separate Member State nor an Associate Member of the European Union.  The terms relating exclusively to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man were subsequently embodied in Protocol No. 3 of the Treaty of Accession of the United Kingdom to the EEC, signed on 22 January 1972.
    • Protocol No. 3 placed the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man within the Common Customs territory of the Community and the Common External Tariff of the EEC.  Broadly speaking this means that no customs duties are applied to goods exported to members of the customs union but a common customs tariff applies to goods imported into the customs union from non-member countries.
    • Protocol 3 also provides that Guernsey is "within" the EU for most of the purposes of the free movement of goods (e.g. so that Articles 28, 30, 34-36 and 110 of what is now the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union ("TFEU") apply) but outside the EU for other purposes, in particular non-customs related fiscal matters and the free movement of persons and services.  The Islands are not eligible for assistance from the Union's structural funds or under the support measures for agricultural markets.
    • Under Protocol 3 the authorities in the Dependencies have to treat natural and legal persons of the European Union equally and therefore in a non discriminatory manner. Although Channel Islands are British citizens and hence European citizens, they are not entitled to take advantage of the freedom of movement of people or services unless they are directly connected (through birth, descent from a parent or grandparent, or five years' continuous residence with the United Kingdom). This means that some Islanders with a very pure Guernsey family heritage do not have freedom of movement within the EU and their passports are marked accordingly.  They are reducing in number year by year.  These passports are marked with the words "The holder is not entitled to benefit from EU provisions relating to employment or establishment".  They can of course seek work permits or secure a university place allocated to non-EU citizens.
    • Application of EU law
    • In the early years after Protocol 3 came into force, it was a relatively simple matter to identify what legislation was needed in Guernsey to implement EU Directives and to identify applicable EU Regulations falling within the scope of Protocol 3 because they tended to be made in a compartmentalised way according to subject matter.  Nowadays, matters have become more complicated and a provision relating to say agriculture might be found in a Directive relating to development or climate change.
    • In brief, Regulations are directly applicable in the EU Member States.  Insofar as they are binding on the Bailiwick under Protocol 3, they have immediate legal effect and form part of Bailiwick law without the need to enact local legislation (see further the European Communities, (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law 1973) as amended  
    • Directives on the other hand, are binding on Member States as to the result to be achieved but it is for national authorities to decide the form and methods of implementing them. In so far as they may be applicable under Protocol 3, they can be implemented by Ordinance under the European Communities (Implementation) (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 1994, as amended. This means that the Bailiwick can bring relevant legislation into effect swiftly without the need for Royal Assent.  Further, under this law, the Bailiwick (meaning for this purpose the States of Guernsey in relation to Guernsey; States of Alderney in relation to Alderney and Chief Pleas in relation to Sark), has the power to implement "any provision" of EU law, whether or not it falls within Protocol 3. This means that other provisions of EU law which might, for example, be thought of interest to the Bailiwick may be brought into force under this legislation even if there is no obligation to do so under the terms of Protocol 3.  
    • Development of EU competencies and the Bailiwick
    • In 1985 the European Community initiated the single market initiative. It was a Community strategy to intensify harmonisation and it included monetary union in 2002.  It has had some impact on competition in the financial services sector.
    • In 1992 the Maastricht Treaty changed a purely economic community into a union embracing additional areas of co-operation.  It enacted a 3 pillar legal structure for the EU.  It included new intergovernmental sections covering co-operation in foreign and security policy, police and judicial co-operation.  In 1997 the Amsterdam Treaty consolidated Community powers and in 2001 the Nice Treaty made a number of changes to the Community's institutional structures which were indicative of an ever changing community or union.  As part of a reform agenda, a Constitutional Treaty was agreed and signed in 2004, however following its rejection by several Member States during the ratification process the Treaty was dropped.  
    • Following a period of reflection, the Lisbon Treaty was agreed on 2007.  The Treaty implemented some of the reforms proposed by the Constitutional Treaty such as, inter alia: giving the Union a single legal personality; adapting the institutional framework; replacing the term 'Community' with 'Union'; and creating a new architecture of treaties.  The Treaty also abolished the pillar system replacing it with categories of competence, namely, conferred, shared and supporting competences, alongside special competences such as Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and gave legal force to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.  The EU legal personality enables it to conclude treaties within its area of competence, 
    • So far as the Dependencies are concerned it is for the Dependencies to consider the extent to which they wish to take on board any intergovernmental measures, no such EU obligation arises under Protocol 3.  It would be for the islands themselves to decide whether, and to what extent, they wished to be included in any such measures and the United Kingdom has undertaken that the islands will be fully consulted about any such measures which may affect them.
    • No such measure will be applied to any of the islands without the consent of the authorities for the island in question.
    • In short and contrary to some concern expressed in the Bailiwicks of both Jersey and Guernsey at the time, the Channel Islands position in relation to Protocol 3 remains as originally set out and is unaffected by the Lisbon Treaty. 
  • UK Future Position Papers

    • The UK Government Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) is responsible for overseeing the UK negotiations to leave the EU and establishing the future relationship between the UK and EU 27. DExEU regularly publishes documents relating to the UK proposals ahead of the Brexit negotiations. To see the latest documents from the UK please visit:
  • EU Future Position Papers

  • World Trade Organisation - Future Customs Arrangements

    • Current Position - Bailiwick Trade in Goods and Services
    • Guernsey is a Crown Dependency, not part of the UK Customs or fiscal arrangements, but having its own Border Agency and independent Customs control laws.
    • Guernsey enjoys a free and frictionless flow of goods between the UK and the EU. In accordance with the UK's Treaty of Accession, Protocol 3, Guernsey is able to trade in agricultural and industrial goods within the EU.  Protocol 3 also places the Crown Dependencies in the EU Customs Union, allowing the free movement of goods. The trade in services originating from Guernsey fall outside of the scope of Protocol 3.  Guernsey is also a significant exporter of services both within the EU and globally in certain industry sectors. Guernsey works closely with the EU and where necessary adheres to, or applies equivalent controls to facilitate trade with EU Member States.
    • Future Position - Future Customs Arrangements
    • As the UK withdrawals from the EU, the current Customs arrangements will cease.  Guernsey needs to consider its future customs arrangements post Brexit in relation to both goods and services. The States of Guernsey has already begun exploring with HM Government what this would involve. Consideration is being given to extending the UK's Membership of the World Trade Organisation ("WTO") to Guernsey. This would provide trade security for imports and exports to the Bailiwick from the EU and the rest of the world. Membership would also underpin other trading relationships with the UK and other Crown Dependencies. For further information on the WTO please refer to Brexit Essentials Guide (Credit Slaughter and May).
    • On 8 November 2017, the States of Guernsey debated the Policy Letter, 'Protecting the interests of the Bailiwick of Guernsey as the UK leave the EU', which outlined that the economic and future partnership sought by the UK with the EU is a matter of direct interest to the Bailiwick. It is envisaged that the UK's future trading arrangements (such as future Free Trade Agreements) will be underpinned by comprehensive trading rules such as those applied by the UK's membership to the WTO. For a comprehensive list of the existing EU Free Trade Agreements ("FTA's") please refer to the EU Commission.
    • For further information in relation to the UK's current WTO Commitments in relation to Goods, Services and IP please click on the following link
  • Brexit and EU citizens in the UK

    • The UK Government has reached an agreement with the European Union on EU citizens' rights , ahead of the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2019.
    • The UK intends to operate a scheme known as the 'EU Settlement Scheme', which will allow EU citizens and their family members to remain in the UK after Brexit.
    • To secure their rights in the UK, EU citizens and their family members will need to go through a simple application process which will confirm their status in the UK for as long as they wish to stay.
    • People who by 31 December 2020 have been continuously and lawfully living in the UK for 5 years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely. People who arrive by 31 December 2020, but who won't have lived in the UK for 5 years by the time the UK leaves the EU, will be able to apply for pre-settled status until they have reached the 5-year threshold and will then be able to apply for settled status and remain in the UK indefinitely.
    • To ensure people have enough time to apply, the scheme will remain open for applications until 30 June 2021.
    • The settlement scheme in the UK will open in a phased way from later this year and will be fully open by 30 March 2019.
    • Further information about the UK scheme can be found here:
  • EU citizens in the Bailiwick of Guernsey - EU/EEA/Swiss Settlement Scheme

    • When the UK leaves the EU the rights of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens will change. The UK and the EU have agreed that your current rights will continue until 31 December 2020. If you want to stay in the Bailiwick of Guernsey beyond then, you need to apply under the EU/EEA/SWISS Settlement Scheme. This allows you and your family members to continue to live and work in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. It means you will continue to have ongoing rights to healthcare, work arrangements and access to benefits and public services and you do now. The Population Management Law which operates in Guernsey, and any domestic laws controlling employment and residence in place in Alderney and Sark will continue to apply as now. There may be different arrangements for those arriving after 29 March 2019. The Scheme will still be open regardless of whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal. 
    • Citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, which together with the EU forms the EEA, and Switzerland. More information about the scheme and how to apply for settled status can be found here.



Preparing for a 'no-deal' Brexit on October 31st 2019 Guernsey Customs Brexit Preparations (updated February 2019) States of Guernsey - No Deal Brexit Guide Letters between Deputy Gavin St Pier and the UK Prime Minister April-May 2019 Letters between Deputy Gavin St Pier and the UK Prime Minister September-October 2018 Letters between Deputy Gavin St Pier and the UK Prime Minister February-March 2017 House of Commons Justice Committee Report-The Implications of Brexit for the Crown Dependencies House of Lords - Brexit "The Crown Dependencies" 19th series 2016-17 Lords EU Select Committee Government response - Brexit and the Crown Dependencies House of Lords Crown Dependencies letter to David Davis House of Lords report - Brexit 'Deal of No Deal' Joint report on progress during phase 1 negotiations

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