Guernsey and Jersey chief ministers spent two days meeting with EU “decision-makers” in Brussel this week in talks aimed at ensuring that the two Crown Dependencies continue to meet EU standards on “matters of tax transparency and economic substance, the jurisdictions said in a joint statement.
The chief ministers held meetings, they said, with the ambassadors of four EU member states – Germany, Austria, Portugal and Malta – as well as the commissioner for economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs, Pierre Moscovici, pictured left, and MEPs representing the UK and Germany.
The meeting were aimed at showing the two jurisdictions’ “continued commitment” to meeting EU standards on tax transparency and economic substance, as noted.
Jersey chief minister Ian Gorst, and his Guernsey counterpart Gavin St Pier, said the statement, “reaffirmed the Islands’ willingness to engage with the European Union on tax matters” during the meeting with Moscovici.
The two jurisdictions were clearly keen to ensure a good ongoing trading and regulatory relationship with the EU post-Brexit, whatever might come to pass between the EU and the UK in the difficult negotiations currently afoot.
“Both Islands have cooperated fully with the ongoing screening process being undertaken by the EU Code of Conduct Group on Business Taxation,” said the statement, “and have provided detailed technical submissions to the Code of Conduct Group as part of that exercise”.
Gorst was fulsome in his gratitude to Moscovici, MEPs Burkhard Balz, Wajid Khan and Kay Swinburne, as well as the ambassadors for the countries mentioned, saying that both he and St Pier “greatly value the opportunity for frank and positive dialogue on the work that is being done in both Jersey and Guernsey on tax transparency and the exchange of information”.
‘Cooperative partners of the EU’
“In January 2016 Commissioner Moscovici described the Channel Islands as cooperative partners of the EU,” added Gorst.
“We believe that our actions since then, and recognition by international bodies including the OECD, have further validated that description.
“Throughout all of our meetings in Brussels we have emphasised our commitment to maintaining that status as cooperative jurisdictions and good neighbours.”
St Pier said that it was important for decision-makers in Brussels to understand two things: “First, how Guernsey and Jersey work as well-regulated finance centres that make a significant contribution to the EU capital market, supporting investment in EU infrastructure and businesses.
“Second, how we play our part in developing and upholding international standards, through our active involvement in the OECD Global Forum and the OECD’s BEPS Inclusive Framework.
“Our message in Brussels has been clear, unambiguous, and backed by our actions and by evidence – we are good and cooperative neighbours of the EU who make a positive contribution to the European economy. We can only make sure that message is heard by being here and engaging directly.