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Channel Islands' Contribution Praised At EU Meetings

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
11 May, 2015

Jersey's Chief Minister, Ian Gorst, and his Guernsey counterpart, Jonathan Le Tocq, recently met senior European parliamentarians and representatives from the European Commission to highlight their financial services industries' contribution to the EU's economy.

The chief ministers met with Members of the European Parliament from the UK, Germany, Ireland, France, Luxembourg, Denmark, and Portugal and welcomed recognition of the positive contribution of the islands to Europe. Representatives from the City of London, Andorra, the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, and the Isle of Man were also present.

In a statement after the meetings, Le Tocq said: "The Channel Islands' funds sector is as a conduit for around GBP200bn (USD309.3bn) of inward investment into Europe. That supports growth and jobs across Europe, and of course is vital for jobs and economic growth on our islands. We are an important economic partner of the EU, and that is the message that we have been delivering in Brussels - that continued access to European capital markets for the Channel Islands is good for the EU."

During the meeting, Pierre Moscovici, the European Tax Commissioner, described their endeavors in the area of tax transparency as "very much welcome," noting also the Channel Islands' "active engagement" in combating tax evasion, fraud, and abusive tax avoidance, and referring to the islands as "important partners to the EU." He also praised their commitment to adopting the OECD's Common Reporting Standard for the automatic exchange of information.

After the meeting, Gorst said: "The islands' economic contribution is increasingly well-understood in Brussels. The meetings we had with the members of the Economic Affairs and Tax Committees, as well as Jonathan Hill, [the EU Commissioner for financial services,] demonstrates the importance of continuing to engage at the senior level of the European Parliament and the European Commission."

Geoff Cook, the CEO of Jersey Finance – the promotional agency on behalf of the island's financial services industry, said "Jersey is coping extremely well with increasing demands as far as transparency and growing amounts of regulation are concerned, and is working hard through political engagement like this to obtain the credit it deserves for its response to the shifting regulatory agenda. These latest comments from the most senior political figures in the EU, which remains an important economic partner for Jersey, are therefore extremely welcome and provide further evidence that Jersey's stance in combating financial crime and its beneficial role in the European economy are being understood at the very highest level in Brussels."

"This builds on comments made in recent times from both UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who told the House of Commons that it was no longer fair to refer to any of the Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies as tax havens, and the Secretary General of the OECD, Angel Gurría, who wrote to Jersey's Chief Minister to congratulate the jurisdiction on the measures it had taken in support of international tax transparency."

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