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Business & Finance

Swiss-EU deal: Live or let die?

  • But ahead of Swiss President Guy Parmelin's meeting with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, Bern has kept its cards close to its chest on what approach it plans to take.
23 Apr 2021

GENEVA: Switzerland's president heads to Brussels on Friday for a crunch meeting seeking to break through the logjam over a long-delayed agreement on simplifying ties with the European Union.

Brussels has made no secret of its growing impatience to nail down a "framework agreement" with Bern, 13 years in the making.

For the EU, negotiations on the deal concluded in 2018 -- but the Swiss have continued to press for changes and have so far baulked at signing.

The agreement would rejig five major agreements within a patchwork of 120 bilateral accords that govern non-EU member Switzerland's relations with the bloc.

Among other points, they touch on access to the single market and fine-tuning applicable Swiss and EU laws.

Fears abound that failing to secure the framework deal could jeopardise Switzerland's relationship with its largest trading partner at a time when more than half of all Swiss exports go to the bloc which all but surrounds the landlocked country.

But ahead of Swiss President Guy Parmelin's meeting with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, Bern has kept its cards close to its chest on what approach it plans to take.

"The Federal Council (government) is ready," was all a spokesman would say when asked what message Parmelin would deliver in Brussels.

Declarations that the deal was nearly dead have multiplied in recent months.

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