Brussels has pushed for years for a treaty to cap an array of bilateral accords and require the Swiss to routinely adopt changes to single market rules. Talks between Bern and its biggest trading partner broke off in May 2021 over concerns about yielding too much sovereignty to the bloc.
Last year, EU ambassador Petros Mavromichalis blasted Bern over its demands.
He said: “We have granted Switzerland almost everything it wanted.
“At some point, you have to say – enough is enough.”
Now German MEP Chair of the EU Delegation for relations with Switzerland Andreas Schwab has reached out to Bern with a new proposal.
Mr Schwab wants to break up this complicated situation by making a small step towards Switzerland. The starting point is that the Federal Council in Bern rejects a general agreement and seeks individual regulations for each policy sector.
Here, the CDU politician is now proposing that the framework agreement remain in place, but that, for example, in matters of dispute settlement, issues could certainly be clarified in the individual sectors.
Mr Schwab said negotiating partners from Bern must “finally make concrete proposals” on how they want to reconcile their own domestic interests with those of the European Union.
In his view, this is more urgent than ever after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Because the solidarity agreement on energy and talks on cooperation in the field of electricity supply will also be affected.
The MEP from Rottweil is not acting entirely altruistically, because in the long run, a lot is at stake, especially for Baden-Württemberg.
Switzerland is one of the most important trading partners of the southwest of Germany – in terms of exports from Baden-Württemberg, the country ranks about third after the USA and China. There are 131 university cooperation agreements.
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In view of the war and its serious consequences for Europe, Switzerland is at the bottom of Brussels’ list of problems to be solved.
In the past, the EU had made great efforts to accommodate Switzerland.
For example, it had agreed to exceptions and a new court of arbitration.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg