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Swiss want only five bilateral treaties under EU framework agreement

EU - Switzerland

Switzerland recently suffered a setback in the negotiations when the EU decided to restrict Swiss stock exchange access to the EU market for a year (Keystone) - Click to enlarge

According to an unpublished list that was revealed in some Swiss papers, Switzerland wants only five of around 120 bilateral treaties with the European Union to figure in a future institutional framework agreement.

A reportexternal link on foreign economic policy published on Wednesday stated that an institutional framework agreement would apply to those bilateral agreements that allow access to certain areas of the European Union’s (EU) internal market. The Swiss want this to span five bilateral agreements: the free movement of persons, mutual recognition of conformity agreement, agricultural products, overland transport and civil aviation.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) was behind the selection of the list of bilateral agreements, which was revealed on Thursday by the papers Bund and Tages-Anzeiger. SECO confirmed the Swiss position and added that future agreements on access to the European market, such as the one on electricity, could be added if the deal was successful.

The list of bilateral treaties that make up the institutional framework agreement is of strategic importance. If Switzerland disagrees with a European Court of Justice ruling over a dispute, it might have to face compensation measures that could include suspension of bilateral treaties covered by the institutional framework agreement. Thus the Alpine nation could stand to lose access to important sectors of the EU market and it is in its own interest to minimise the damage of such an eventuality. The EU on the other hand, wants Switzerland to become more integrated into its internal market, laws and regulations and favours a overarching agreement over a patchwork of bilateral ones.

Full story here
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