The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Majority of the National Council Wants More Speed in the EU Dossier

The Swiss National Council discussed and took note of the Federal Council's report on the state of relations between Switzerland and the EU on Thursday. Despite the fact that the report contained little new information, a lively debate ensued in the weeks leading up to the elections. All parties, with the exception of the SVP, called on the Federal Council to move faster on the European dossier. The report is an overview of the bilateral path and evaluates the current European policy options for Switzerland. These options include a pure free trade relationship, the continuation of the bilateral path, membership of the EEA or EU membership. The Federal Council concluded that the bilateral path is still the best solution for Switzerland, but that it can only be pursued if the EU is willing to do so. They also made it clear that the EU is making further development of the institutional agreements dependent on the outcome of the negotiations. The GLP/LU party argued that EEA membership is the "golden key" to Europe, while the FDP/ZH party highlighted the economic costs of not reaching an agreement with the EU. The Greens called on the Federal Council to quickly adopt a mandate for negotiations with the EU, while the SP/SG party noted the erosion of the Bilateral Agreements without an institutional solution with the EU. The SVP/ZH party, on the other hand, called for a return to Swiss self-determination. In conclusion, the National Council called on the Federal Council to move faster on the European dossier and to find solutions to the current negotiations with the EU. They also highlighted the importance of reaching an agreement with the EU in light of the geopolitical situation and the economic costs of not doing so.

©Keystone/SDA

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