Guernsey pro-actively engages with a number of different jurisdictions as well as international and supranational bodies. This page provides further information on Guernsey's relationship with some of those bodies.
Guernsey and the UK
- Guernsey is a self-governing dependency of the Crown with its own directly elected legislative assembly, its own administrative, fiscal and legal systems, and its own courts of law. Although Guernsey is not part of the UK, it is part of the British Isles and there are very strong economic, cultural and social links between Guernsey and the UK. The people of Guernsey have British nationality and Guernsey participates in the Common Travel Area. Guernsey is not represented in the UK Parliament but the Crown - in practice through Her Majesty's Government - is formally responsible for the island's defence and for its formal international relations. It is settled constitutional practice that the UK consults Guernsey before it may bind the Island to obligations in international law.
- By agreement, Guernsey has been included in many important international conventions to which the UK is a party. Through a Framework Agreement signed in December 2008 ( IIF Agreement [82kb]) between the UK and Guernsey, it was agreed that the UK will not act internationally on account of Guernsey without prior consultation and recognises that Guernsey has an international identity that is different from that of the UK. For example, a number of international agreements have been signed directly by the Island with foreign countries by express agreement with the UK Government, including tax agreements such as Tax Information Exchange Agreements and Double Taxation Agreements.
Guernsey and Europe
- Parts of this section about Guernsey and Europe are to be updated following the UK's decision to withdraw from the EU and the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. In the meantime, you may find it helpful to refer to the States of Guernsey's latest Brexit-related Policy Letter and Resolutions (December 2020) and the update statement given by the Policy & Resources Committee in the March 2021 States Meeting.
- Guernsey is not part of the European Union. Guernsey neither contributes to, nor directly receives anything from, the funds 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 UK's Act of Accession to the European Economic Community in 1972 ("Protocol 3").
- Under Protocol 3, Guernsey is part of the EU Customs Union and is able to trade in goods and agricultural products as if it were part of the EU. This means that trade is unrestricted by tariffs, quotas or other barriers (except VAT). Any traded products must meet the relevant standards and requirements of the EU.
- This means that Guernsey is "within" the EU for most of the purposes of the free movement of goods but outside the EU for other purposes, in particular non-customs related fiscal matters and the free movement of persons and services. Guernsey is not eligible for assistance from the EU's structural funds or under the support measures for agricultural markets.
- Protocol 3 also requires the Channel Islands to treat all natural and legal persons of 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.
- Guernsey is not bound by other aspects of EU free movement rules and is able to maintain restrictions on the right to reside and work, in accordance with insular law, provided this is done in a non-discriminatory way.
- Outside of the formal Protocol 3 relationship, the Bailiwick is treated as a jurisdiction outside of the EU and one that is not a European Economic Area (EEA) country. This means it is treated as a 'third country'.
- As a third country, and due to Guernsey's location and close trading relationships with both the UK and other EU Member States, Guernsey voluntarily implements appropriate EU legislation and applies relevant international standards. Guernsey is not, for example, part of the single market in financial services and so has negotiated limited market access as a third country on a case-by-case basis by being assessed as applying equivalent standards to those in the EU.
- By virtue of Guernsey's geographical location, it has also applied the relevant EU aviation and maritime measures to secure and underpin our transport links.
- The Channel Islands Brussels Office promotes the interests of the Channel Islands in Europe, to represent the governments and public authorities of the Channel Islands to the EU institutions and to advise Guernsey and Jersey on EU policy issues.
Guernsey and the OECD
- The OECD convention was extended to the Bailiwick of Guernsey on 20 July 1990. This means that the OECD Convention applies to Guernsey and it is part of the UK for the purpose of the UK's membership of the OECD. Decisions, recommendations and agreements apply to the Bailiwick of Guernsey to the same extent as they do to the UK. Further information about Guernsey's membership of the OECD is available here.
- In 2002 the States of Guernsey made a general political commitment to the OECD in relation to improvement of transparency in tax systems. The island has some OECD treaties extended to it including the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.
Guernsey and the Commonwealth
- Guernsey is not an independent Commonwealth Member. However it is active within the Commonwealth and embraces the values of the Commonwealth and is committed to democracy and democratic processes, including free and fair elections and representative legislatures; the rule of law and independence of the judiciary; good governance, including a well-trained public service and transparent public accounts; and the protection of human rights, freedom of expression, and equality of opportunity.
Guernsey and the United Nations
- Guernsey is not an independent member of the UN. The UK's United Nations Act 1946, which enables the implementation of United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions, is extended to Guernsey and these resolutions can be implemented by Order in Council.
- Guernsey has a number of UN treaties extended to it and contributes to the UK periodic reports in respect of these conventions as well as the Universal Periodic Review, established by the UN Human Rights Council.