Switzerland, after months of procrastination, has put an end to negotiations on its relations with the EU, the government announced on Wednesday, which risks arousing the wrath of Brussels. Speaking at a press conference, Swiss President Guy Parmelin announced that the Confederation was “putting an end” to the negotiations. This agreement aimed to standardize the legal framework for Switzerland’s participation in the EU’s single market and to establish a dispute settlement mechanism.
This announcement follows the summit in Brussels on April 23 between Guy Parmelin and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. The two parties were then unable to come together on the disputed points (salaries, free movement of people and public aid).
This institutional agreement would have “brought a fundamental change in the relations between Switzerland and the EU”, requiring an “important compromise” in Switzerland, explained the Swiss Minister of the Affairs. Foreigners, Ignazio Cassis, at the same press conference. The agreement had been called for more than ten years by the EU, but negotiations only started in 2014. Several points continued. to be a problem for Bern, but Brussels had refused any additional compromise since the end of 2018.
Â € œWe regret this decision, given the progress made over the past few years in making the Institutional Framework Agreement a reality Â », reacted the European Commission.
The scope of this framework agreement would have been limited to the five existing market access agreements (free movement of people, land transport, air transport, obstacles trade and agriculture), as well as future market access agreements (eg in the field of electricity). This institutional agreement is sensitive for Switzerland, because the EU had made its signature the prerequisite for the conclusion of any new bilateral agreement on access to its market.