EU, Swiss talks on future ties stuck over Swiss carve-out demand

Talks on future ties between the European Union and Switzerland were stuck on Friday over Swiss demands that state aid, labour rules and citizens rights be carved out of a draft agreement both sides struck in 2018.


Reuters | Brussels | Updated: 23-04-2021 17:06 IST | Created: 23-04-2021 17:06 IST
EU, Swiss talks on future ties stuck over Swiss carve-out demand
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Talks on future ties between the European Union and Switzerland were stuck on Friday over Swiss demands that state aid, labour rules and citizens rights be carved out of a draft agreement both sides struck in 2018. The 27-member EU wants an overarching treaty to bind non-EU member Switzerland more closely to single market rules, including free movement of people, and provide a more effective way to resolve disputes.

EU-Swiss economic ties are now governed by more than 100 bilateral agreements stretching back to 1972. Swiss President Guy Parmelin travelled to Brussels on Friday for a meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, but there was no sign of a breakthrough.

"The draft agreement of 2018 is good and it is what we need. We did hear the reservations from Switzerland on the three well-known subjects," a Commission spokesman told a news conference. The Swiss have concerns over state aid rules, foreign workers who could undercut Swiss pay and EU citizens' access to Swiss social benefits.

Bern has suggested these should be "carved out" of the agreement, an EU spokesman said, which was "simply not acceptable to the EU side". The EU's door remained open, the spokesman said.

Parmelin was set to give a media briefing later on Friday. Failure to strike a deal would block Switzerland from any new access to the single market, such as an electricity union. Existing accords will also erode over time, such as on cross-border trade in medical products.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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