Cantons Support Draft Negotiating Mandate With the EU

Cantons Support Draft Negotiating Mandate With the EU

Fri, Feb 2nd 2024

Swiss Cantons Show Guarded Support for EU Negotiation Mandate. Key Focus on Education, Transport, and Energy. Diverse Cantonal Voices Seek Inclusive Talks.

The Conference of Cantonal Governments (KDK) supports the draft negotiating mandate with the EU presented by the Federal Council. This is in line with the position of the cantons. They hope that Switzerland will soon be associated with education and research programs.

Of 26 cantons, 24 welcome the Federal Council’s intention to enter into talks with the EU, as the KDK announced at a media event in Bern on Friday. Only the canton of Schwyz did not support this. Nidwalden abstained from voting.

The broad support is not a blank cheque for the Federal Council, said Markus Dieth, KDK President and President of the Canton of Aargau. The national government should negotiate hard with the Brussels authorities and the agreement should serve Switzerland. It is about securing prosperity in Switzerland in the long term.

Participation in Horizon and Erasmus+

In its statement, the KDK noted that Switzerland’s systematic participation in EU programs, including in the areas of research and innovation, education and space, is a matter of great urgency. The negotiations must ensure Swiss participation in the 2021-2027 Horizon package and Erasmus+ 2021-2027 as quickly as possible.

Discussions should also be initiated on Switzerland’s participation in the Copernicus part of the EU space program. The cantonal governments would expect concrete signals from the Federal Council in these areas.

Cross-border public transport

With regard to transport, the KDK is calling for the land transport agreement not to affect the expansion of the cross-border public transport network, particularly for the border cantons. At the same time, the regular timetable and tariff integration in rail transport must be maintained.

In the energy sector, the cantons considered it essential to negotiate an agreement on access to the EU electricity market. If the electricity market were to be fully liberalized, the KDK would continue to demand a basic supply with regulated tariffs for households, according to the documents.

In the area of the free movement of persons, the KDK believes it must be ensured that there is no abuse of the Swiss social system. In addition, the provisions relating to criminal expulsion from the country must be retained without restriction.

Involvement in the negotiations

In principle, the cantons welcomed the consultation carried out by the federal government. They also called for the cantons to be involved in the negotiations. For example, a representative of the KDK should be able to sit on the technical negotiating committee.

Both the Federal Council and the EU Commission have set themselves the goal of being able to start negotiations in the spring. The Swiss government presented its guidelines for negotiations in mid-December.


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