Newly Elected President of La Manche Makes Inaugural Visit to the Channel Islands

Thursday 22 February 16:58

The President of the Departmental Council of La Manche, Mr Marc Lefèvre, visited Guernsey today as part of a two-day delegation to the Channel Islands, where he is meeting with Ministers to discuss matters of mutual interest; including Brexit and the trading, educational and cultural links between the Channel Islands and the region of La Manche.

The strong relationship between the Channel Islands and La Manche has developed exponentially over the past two decades, with a formal partnership agreement between Jersey, Guernsey and the Normandy region renewed in September 2016.

Mr Lefèvre, who is a vet by profession, was the Mayor of Saint-Mère-Eglise for over 30 years, alongside diverse roles within the departmental government of La Manche. He has hosted the visits of many political figures from the Channel Islands and Bailiffs across the years, including during milestone anniversaries of D-Day in his capacity as Mayor.

Whilst in Guernsey, the French delegation met Guernsey’s Lieutenant Governor, Vice-Admiral Sir Ian Corder, and the Bailiff of Guernsey, Sir Richard Collas, who formally welcomed Mr Lefèvre on his first official visit to the Island.

Mr Lefèvre also met with Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, member of the Policy & Resources Committee with responsibility for External Relations, and other senior politicians to discuss the current areas of cooperation with the Department of La Manche, which include areas such as tourism, cultural initiatives, educational links and digital opportunities.

Mr Lefèvre will this evening travel to Jersey where he will be hosted at a welcome dinner by the Bailiff of Jersey, Sir William Bailhache. Tomorrow (Friday 23 February 2018) Mr Lefèvre will also meet formally with the Lieutenant Governor, Sir Stephen Dalton, and will attend a lunch hosted by the Chief Minister of Jersey, Senator Ian Gorst.

During their stay in Jersey on Friday the French delegation are due to meet with the Minister for External Relations, Senator Sir Philip Bailhache; the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport & Culture, Senator Lyndon Farnham; the Minister for Planning & Environment, Deputy Steve Luce; and Acting Education Minister, Deputy Anne Pryke. The Ministers will discuss diverse matters of cooperation with Mr Lefèvre including the development of cultural projects between Jersey and La Manche, and the ongoing success of existing educational programs.

Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq said:

“Guernsey has important cultural, historic and social links with Normandy, and we have built a strong relationship with the Department of La Manche, in particular, over recent years. The cooperation agreement, which includes both the Department of La Manche and the Region of Normandy, allows us to strengthen these links and to discuss new areas for potential joint working with some of our closest neighbours.”

“As the negotiations for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU continue, and the details of the UK’s future partnership with the EU remain uncertain, it is important for Guernsey to continue to strengthen and develop its own existing relationships. I was, therefore, honoured to welcome Mr Lefèvre to Guernsey on his first official visit since taking up the role of President of the Departmental Council. As a result of my previous political roles it a privilege to count among my personal friends his two immediate predecessors, Sénateurs Jean-François Legrand & Philippe Bas, who remain strong ambassadors for us in France and Europe. I believe their successor will equally become a good friend to the Bailiwick and I look forward to continuing to work together with La Manche to build upon our relationship in ways that will benefit islanders and Normans alike.”

Jersey’s Minister for External Relations, Senator Sir Philip Bailhache, commented:

“I am delighted to welcome Mr Lefèvre to Jersey, for his first official visit as President of La Manche. I have had the pleasure to meet with him on several occasions in the past, and I am certain that his intimate knowledge of Jersey and support for the well-established relationship between our communities will ensure an even closer partnership between Jersey and La Manche.”

“At a time when the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union has brought to the fore the importance of the Island’s own connexions with Europe, the consistent and mutually beneficial links with our closest geographic neighbours are ever more critical. I believe that Mr Lefèvre’s visit will be a significant opportunity to reflect on all the successful ways that Jersey and La Manche are presently working together and to explore avenues for future cooperation.”

States of Jersey Press Release.

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