Switzerland Breaks Off Negotiations With The EU On Market Access
The close relationship of Switzerland with the European Union is being put to the test. Since 2014, there have been talks about granting Switzerland access to the EU single market. However, the Swiss have now abandoned the planned framework agreement.
« The Federal Council has decided that negotiations with the EU on three fronts have not led to the necessary decisions. The decision has therefore been taken to end consultations, » Der Standard quoted Swiss President Guy Parmelin as saying.
Meanwhile, the bilateral treaties between the EU and Switzerland will remain in force. However, the EU this week warned of the consequences Switzerland would face if a framework agreement is not concluded. No new agreements will be concluded and old ones may not be renewed.
The framework agreement has been under negotiation since 2014. Among other things, it is supposed to regulate automatic renewals and to define the arbitration procedure for disputes. But in the meantime, new rules have emerged that the unions, constitutional lawyers and the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP), which advocates limiting immigration and maintaining the country’s neutrality, have not been willing to accept. It is about state aid, measures to protect high Swiss wages and EU citizens’ access to Swiss social security funds.
The Swiss side has proposed a « political dialogue » with the EU to further develop cooperation. The parliament also promises to raise the issue of a previously withheld Swiss contribution of €1.2 billion to support new EU members. In addition, Switzerland wants to unilaterally bring legislation closer to EU norms in some areas to avoid trade barriers, explained Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter.