After seven years of delay, the Swiss government unilaterally suspended discussions on the global agreement proposed by Brussels.
In the normally obscure world of relations between Switzerland and the European Union, this is a true diplomatic sea snake, which lasted for thirty years. This was a huge turning point and a radical decision. On Wednesday, May 26, three of the seven federal consultants announced in Bern that the government will immediately end the difficult discussions with the European Commission on the institutional “framework agreement” proposed by Brussels in 2018 to achieve standardization. The long-term relationship between Switzerland and 27 years old.
Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, nor is it a member of the European Economic Area (Norway and Iceland belong to). Therefore, Switzerland has benefited from bilateral agreements and granted almost all rights to EU member states. Currently governed by more than one hundred bilateral agreements, these links are too complicated, and most importantly, they are no longer adapted to the development of community law.
“There is no doubt that Europe will be angry, The federal chairman Guy Parmelin who took office this year said on the public radio station RTS. Considering that basic interests are threatened, the Federal Council decided after weighing the interests that the risk of this agreement failing is high before the people take too much responsibility. “ The chief executive apparently stated that it wanted to avoid being banned in the case of a referendum. If Swiss Direct Democracy continues and ends negotiations with the Council of Europe, Swiss Direct Democracy will make it public.
For all those who believe that the government should have been relentlessly overcoming differences and subsequently “sell” the obtained treaty to solicit public opinion, this argument seems somewhat short. “We have taken an insulting behavior towards the European Union. We made him wait and convinced him to believe things. Today, some EU member states are angry about this behavior. », François Gabella, vice chairman of Swissmem, an employers’ organization in the machinery industry, said that the deterioration of relations between Switzerland and the EU could threaten the large export sector. The first question: Swiss companies want to enter the single market. So far, there are no restrictions, but due to the lack of a new institutional framework, as existing agreements (some very old) fail, agreements will shrink.
The UDC, a populist right-wing party, is different from the part of freedom that is still close to the business community and the pro-European Green Party. It is still the country’s main camp, but has receded in recent years. It welcomes Wednesday’s spectacular move to interrupt negotiations. “The Federal Council finally assumed responsibility, Welcome to the representative of Geneva Celine Amodruz (UDC). This is a huge relief: this decision respects our democracy and sovereignty, not to mention all the costs that the agreement will pay. The European Union will undoubtedly retaliate, but this shows that Switzerland does not succumb to hostility. ”