The terms of the Withdrawal Agreement come into effect today.
The UK and EU are entering a ‘transition period’ which is due to end on 31 December 2020.
During the transition period, the UK will have left the EU in law (so it is no longer an EU Member State) but the same rights and obligations will apply to the UK as if it were still a member of the EU.
For the Bailiwick of Guernsey, the rights and obligations that Protocol 3 provided for will, in effect, continue during the transition period. The free movement of goods will continue. As the Bailiwick is outside the EU for the free movement of services, including financial services, there will be no change in these trading relationships during the transition period. Transport and people will
continue to move between the Bailiwick, the UK and the EU as before.
When the negotiations on the UK-EU future relationship are taking place through 2020, P&R will continue to represent the Bailiwick’s interests to the UK. The Committee will explore how and to what extent the Channel Islands should seek to take part in any new UK-EU relationship which emerges from the negotiations. The outcome of the negotiations – the Bailiwick’s proposed involvement in the UK-EU future relationship agreement – would be a matter of consideration by the Bailiwick’s legislatures after negotiations have ended.
Deputy St Pier, President of the Policy & Resources Committee, said: 'As the UK ceases to be a Member State of the EU at 11pm today, it marks a moment of historical significance for us as well as the UK.
'While the UK’s withdrawal from the EU is a matter for the UK to decide and while the islands of the Bailiwick were never part of the EU, the UK’s decision has a direct impact on our own relationship with the EU. It is for this reason that we have been working so closely with the UK, alongside Jersey and the Isle of Man, to minimise the impacts and to find the opportunities from this change.
'The States of Guernsey has collectively achieved many milestones in the process, including extending the territorial seas, agreeing a new customs partnership with the UK and seeking agreement for the UK’s membership of the World Trade Organization to be extended to us.
'The next phase in the process is for the UK and EU to negotiate their future relationship. It is likely to be demanding as the negotiations will need to proceed at pace if an agreement is to be negotiated and ratified by the end of the 2020 transition period. The States has prepared for this and will continue to work hard to ensure that Guernsey’s interests are heard, understood and taken into account by the UK, even where our interests may diverge from those of the UK. We will want to ensure that any future agreement or protocol meets the Bailiwick’s needs whilst respecting the islands’ constitutional relationship with the Crown, the islands’ domestic autonomy and meets our economic needs.
'It is important that any agreement or protocol in respect of the Bailiwick be underpinned by principles of relevance, proportionality and practicality taking into account the island nature of the Bailiwick, its size and population.'