JERSEY and France need to put the difficulties of Brexit ‘behind’, the foreign minister said after a three-day trip to France.
MP Phillip Ozouf, along with other ministers, recently traveled to Rennes and Paris on a visit aimed at strengthening ties between Jersey and its continental neighbour.
The last day of the tour involved the annual Normandy summit in Caen, which focused on Brexit’s impact on fisheries and trade.
Speaking after the trip, Deputy Ozouf highlighted the importance of open and consistent dialogue.
He said: ‘We need to put the difficulties of Brexit behind us and work together to tackle the many challenges and opportunities ahead.
‘On the third day of our trip to France, where we seek to re-establish good, positive and forward-looking relationships with our French colleagues, he really emphasized the value of being in the same room together.’
Chief Minister Kristina Moore virtually joined the summit. She said: “We talked about a number of pressing issues, including post-Brexit travel and fishing. As a government, we are determined to work together with our French counterparts to find positive outcomes for all of us.’
Ships from Normandy and Brittany blocked the port of St Helier last spring, at the height of a dispute over post-Brexit fishing rights in island waters for French operators.
During the trip, the ministers also visited cultural institutions in Rennes, while MP Ozouf met Menna Rawlings, the British ambassador to France at the British Embassy in Paris.
Economic Development Minister Kirsten Morel, who was also on the delegation, added: “Political engagement with our French colleagues in Normandy and Brittany is of fundamental importance, but we must not forget the value of cultural exchange and of cooperation.
“During my time in Rennes, it became clear that the city’s cultural institutions and offerings are exceptional and, as a government, we must seek greater cooperation with them in the future. Building a long-term strategic partnership with Les Champ Libres [a cultural centre]for example, it would be an important way of accessing and connecting with the cultural life of the city, benefiting both Jersey residents and Britons.’
MP Ozouf made an appearance on French regional television, which he said underlined the “strong relations” between Jersey and its “closest neighbours”.