Channel Islands push French links

Guernsey and Jersey are establishing an office in France in a bid to support and improve links with the islands nearest neighbour.

The Bureau des lles Anglo-Normandes is due to be set up in Caen, Normandy, early in the new year.

In a joint statement the islands' governments said it would replace the Bureau de Jersey.

They said the office would work on areas such as business development, tourism and transport links.

It would also look at energy, fisheries, civil contingencies and education.

Shared costs

Guernsey's Deputy Chief Minister Jonathan Le Tocq said: "This is a hugely constructive step which we and our colleagues are taking together."

He said it was not a new service like the Channel Islands Brussels Office but would make better use of the funds current spent on the relationship.

Deputy Le Tocq said it followed closer work between the islands in France for the past 18 months.

Senator Sir Philip Bailhache, Jersey's Minister for External Relations, said: "Our objective remains to maintain and further develop mutually beneficial links with Lower Normandy, Brittany, La Manche, and Ille-et-Vilaine."

He said the partnership would mean shared costs and should see stronger links created with the French central government in Paris.

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