With the clock counting down to the end of the transition period on 31 December, Senator Ian Gorst said he thought the only possible outcomes now were a ‘thin deal’, which would be limited in scope, or no deal – and Jersey may need to take steps to diverge from the UK, if necessary.
‘Really, for Jersey, there’s three options remaining – a thin deal that we say we want to be part of, the UK not negotiating any deal so there’s nothing to be part of, or a thin deal that we decide it’s not in our interests to be a part of,’ he said.
If the UK signed a deal with the EU which was ‘not of benefit’ to Jersey, then the Island would seek to have its own conversations with Brussels, the Senator said.
‘In this case it might mean that we’d have to change some of our domestic legislation, for example to have a goods-for-goods deal,’ he said
‘We might just say, “You know what, this deal is too much for us – we want to maintain our current approach”.’
Negotiating directly with the EU would require agreement from the UK in the form of an ‘entrustment’ to allow the Island to sign its own international treaty.
‘We can’t avoid being good neighbours to Europe. What we’d probably say is, “okay, but our relationship with Europe is important” and we would then seek to have conversations with Brussels,’ Senator Gorst said.
‘We would need entrustment from the UK to do that and look at all of the relationships that Brussels has with its own micro states, which are also up in the air. So, we would seek a different or new type of relationship with the EU, which is separate from the relationship that the UK has.
‘I can’t at this point envisage anything that would mean that we wouldn’t probably be party to the same deal as the UK.
‘But if we can’t sign up for it, which is something we’ve always known right from the start that we might choose not to do, then we’d have to think about how we forge a positive relationship going forward with Brussels in a different way.’
The full interview is in Tuesday's JEP.