EU-Swiss framework agreement talks could fail over mid-Oct deadline

EPA / SALVATORE DI NOLFI

The Swiss flag flies at the Mont Blanc bridge which crosses the Lake Geneva with the famous fountain 'Jet d'Eau' seen in the background on the bank of the lake of Geneva, during a strong wind, in Geneva, Switzerland, 04 February 2017.

EU-Swiss framework agreement talks could fail over mid-Oct deadline


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Four years after negotiations between the EU and Switzerland began aimed at formalising relations between the two, neither appears overly hopeful that significant progress will be made to finalise an agreement after the deadline to do so is set to expire on October 15.

“The European Commission and President (Jean-Claude) Juncker have personally invested a lot of time and effort to advance negotiations with our Swiss counterparts,” said the EU executive chief spokesperson, Margaritis Schinas, answering a question about the current situation and the way forward.

Juncker has warned on several separate occasions that the window of opportunity to close a deal was rapidly closing, added Schinas. “Despite the European Commission’s best efforts to come to an agreement with Switzerland, no decisive progress was achieved in the last round of negotiations,” Schinas said.

EU and Swiss negotiators will meet on October 16 in Brussels to jointly assess where the negotiations currently stand.

A meeting of Switzerland’s Federal President Alain Berset and Juncker has not been confirmed, despite both politicians being in Brussels for the upcoming 12th annual Asia-Europe Summit that is to take place on October 18-19.

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