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Cassis: Switzerland eager to enter EU agreement

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 19 July 2023
Switzerland wants to bring the talks with the EU to a successful conclusion Federal Councilor Cassis said at a meeting with Vice President of the EU Commission Maros Sefcovic in Brussels.
Cassis: Switzerland eager to enter EU agreement
Swiss Federal Councillor for Foreign Affairs Ignazio Cassis (L) meets with Vice President of the European Commission Maros Sefcovic (R) at the EU in Brussels, in July 18th (Keystone SDA).

Switzerland wants to bring the talks with the EU to a successful conclusion, according to Federal Councilor Ignazio Cassis

The meeting with EU Vice President Maros Sefcovic in Brussels served to determine the position of the exploratory talks between Switzerland and the EU, wrote the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (EDA) on Tuesday after the meeting.

According to a statement by the EU Commission, the two politicians also spoke about “progress on a technical and diplomatic level.”

The Foreign Minister and the EU Commissioner then discussed “the outstanding questions and the steps” that are to be clarified in the coming months, the FDFA continued.

So far, a total of ten exploratory rounds have taken place. As a result, at the end of June, the Federal Council passed benchmarks for the negotiation mandate.

Exchange in private

On Tuesday, Cassis and Sefcovic reaffirmed their willingness to “continue to give positive impetus to the process,” as the FDFA’s statement went on to say. They wanted to continue to exchange information regularly.

According to the EU Commission’s statement, Sefcovic emphasized that the EU was ready to continue the “intensive talks with Switzerland.”

During the meeting, the two politicians were alone. The face-to-face interview lasted about an hour. At the subsequent working lunch, they were accompanied by their delegations.

The Swiss Foreign Minister and the EU Commissioner last met in Bern in mid-March. At that time, Sefcovic also held various talks with foreign politicians as well as with the social partners and the cantons. For his part, Cassis was last in Brussels in November 2021.

Cassis: Switzerland eager to enter EU agreement
A Swiss flag, and an European flag in front of the room where Sefcovic and Cassis met (Keystone SDA).
Report on Switzerland

Also on Tuesday, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the EU Parliament approved the report on the relationship between Switzerland and the EU by conservative MEP Lukas Mandl by a vote of 51 to three.

“The EU and Switzerland need a new package of agreements that creates trust, stability, jobs and welfare,” the committee wrote. Because he currently sees the relationship between Switzerland and the EU as “unbalanced”.

The MEPs call on the EU Commission and the Federal Council to use “the short window of opportunity” to end the negotiations before the end of the mandate of the EU Commission and the EU Parliament. The European elections will take place in mid-2024. With a view to the remaining time, the committee wrote that it regretted that the Federal Council did not want to make a decision on the mandate until the end of 2023.

The report on Switzerland is expected to be passed by the EU Parliament in September.

This article was reprinted with permission from Keystone SDA.

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