EU sees no decisions yet on Switzerland despite time constraints

EPA-EFE//PETER KLAUNZER

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker attends a press conference during and official visit to Bern, Switzerland

EU sees no decisions yet on Switzerland despite time constraints


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The European Commission may still have on the menu the state of play of the bloc’s relations with Switzerland, however, no decisions should be expected, the Commission’s deputy spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said on Monday.

The EU has to decide whether the two sides have made enough progress on a stalled draft treaty to head-off punitive measures on Swiss bourses that are set to start at the end of June.

Just during last week, the Swiss government asked for clarifications from Brussels on several issues before signing off on a draft treaty that is set to replace over 120 separate bilateral accords that now exist between the bloc and Switzerland. On 14 June, following a cabinet meeting, the Swiss government said that provisions relating to wage and worker protection, state subsidies, and citizens’ rights still need to be clarified.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in his reply that the EU will provide “all possible justifiable” clarifications that are in line with the spirit of the draft treaty but no renegotiation should be expected as the initial deadline set by the Commission for Switzerland to approve the draft treaty before 11 December 2018 has long passed.

The proposed draft agreement covers five of the larger bilateral deals including the free movement of people, mutual recognition of industrial standards, agricultural products, air and land transport. Failure to endorse any part of the deal would lead to an unclear path for future EU-Swiss ties.

An EU source familiar with talks told New Europe that the discussions haven’t advanced far enough for the EU to say that decisions will be taken on Tuesday, but that they could theoretically still made as there “is still a little bit of time” left.

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