As far as I understand, the Channel Islands are more or less the personal property of the British Royal House, and are member of EU's common market by proxy of UK's EU membership, as the Channel Islands themselves are not member of the EU. I assume the Channel Islands will exit EU's common market as the UK leaves the EU.

With the Channel Islands leaving the common market, will this help the EU to fight tax avoidance via the Channel Islands? As post-Brexit, the Channel Islands will not enjoy the EU's basic freedoms, especially free movement of capital, the EU might then be able to impose stricter measures to prevent tax evasion and other bad practices.

  • The status of Andorra, Moncao and San Marino will not change, so I doubt that. Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 6:34
  • Of course will Andorra et al. enjoy the same status, however, with the Channel Islands becoming complete outsiders, the EU should be free to apply all measures which it can apply to any rest-of-the-world, non-EU country. That's why I asked specifically about the Channel Islands, as they will loose their EU membership privileges.
    – Dohn Joe
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 7:56

2 Answers 2


So far as I can make out, the EU's treatment of the Channel Islands is not effectively hindered by the UK's membership of the EU.

If so, Brexit will not gain the EU much leverage that it doesn't already wield.

the Channel Islands are more or less the personal property of the British Royal House

They are not personal property.

The Channel Islands are "crown possessions" but the crown is a metonym for both the state and monarch.

The concept of the Crown developed first in England as a separation of the literal crown and property of the nation state from the person and personal property of the monarch.


are member of EU's common market by proxy of UK's EU membership

That's not quite right, and the details matter.

the Islands are part of the Customs Union and are essentially within the Single Market for the purposes of trade in goods, but are third countries (ie outside the EU) in all other respects.

EU and the Channel Islands

Jersey has a special relationship with the EU through the UK. We are only regarded as being a part of the European Union for trade in goods, otherwise the Island is not a part of the EU. The formal relationship is set out in Protocol 3 of the UK's 1972 Accession Treaty, and you may hear this called the ‘Protocol 3 relationship’.

Brexit and Jersey.

Note "trade in goods" - I interpret that as excluding trade in services (such as financial services)

The EU apparently treats the Channel Islands in the same way asfor non-EU states when attempting to restrain the actions of tax havens.

Of the jurisdictions with links to the UK – Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, along with Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man – have been placed on a so-called “grey list” who have committed to reform their tax structures to ensure, for example, that firms are not simply using their 0% corporate tax rates to shield their profits.

It is understood the British government tried and failed to ensure those jurisdictions would not be screened by the EU’s tax experts but was overruled. A further eight jurisdictions affected by recent hurricanes will be addressed in February.

So the UK's current status as an EU member is no shield for the Channel Islands in that respect.

the Channel Islands will not enjoy the EU's basic freedoms, especially free movement of capital

Do they enjoy them?

5. Relationship to the European Union

The Islands have a special relationship with the European Union provided under Protocol 3 to the UK's Treaty of Accession to the European Community. Under Protocol 3, the Islands are part of the customs territory of the Union and therefore Union customs matters, the common customs tariff, levies, quantitative restrictions and any measures having equivalent effect apply. There is free movement of agricultural goods and derived products between the Islands and the Union. Also included are measures relating to the trade in agricultural goods and derived products with third countries.

However, other EU Rules do not apply to the Crown Dependencies. Implementation of the provisions on the free movement of persons, services and capital is therefore not required, and the Islands are not eligible for assistance from the structural funds or under the support measures for agricultural markets. EU tax instruments do not apply, nor do the developing justice and home affairs initiatives or the Schengen acquis, although the Islands support improved judicial co-operation within Europe and have also voluntarily applied for recognised equivalent status in a number of key law and policy areas.

Fact sheet on the UK’s relationship with the Crown Dependencies

(my emphasis)


Yes. The EU has already stated that when places like the Channel Islands and Gibraltar are outside the EU they become "third countries" and it will not be possible for the UK to shield them from investigation.

Switzerland has already found itself unable to have direct access to the single market because its financial regulations are incompatible. Once the UK leaves there will be nothing preventing the EU from investigating the Channel Islands and creating rules that prevent its tax haven from being accessible to EU companies.

This applies not just to financial deals, but things like sovereignty. Currently the claim on Gibraltar is between two EU members, but after Brexit will be between the EU and the UK.

  • "Currently the claim on Gibraltar is between two EU members, but after Brexit will be between the EU and the UK." Not quite. After Brexit, the claim on Gibraltar will be between one EU member and the UK. The EU is not a country like the US. Commented May 5, 2019 at 7:14
  • As for investigations in Gibraltar and the Channel Islands, how can the EU say the UK cannot protect its sovereign people unless that is part of a deal upon leaving? They can in investigate an EU company in Gibraltar or the Channel Islands, but investigations into UK companies would bring political problems, surely. Commented May 5, 2019 at 7:24
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    @ChrisRogers The EU takes an interest in tax havens that are used to defraud its members of tax revenue. Because it affects all members potentially, investigations can be done at the EU level. There will doubtless be complaints from the UK about it, but there is also little the UK can do. The tax havens will simply be cut off from the EU markets and not available to EU based companies for hiding profits in any more. Money funnelled there will just be taxed anyway, unlike now.
    – user
    Commented May 5, 2019 at 22:15

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