The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Swiss chief negotiator negotiates with Brexit negotiator

Negotiations on future relations between Switzerland and the EU began this week. Chief negotiator Patric Franzen is leading the talks on behalf of Switzerland. Sitting opposite him is EU diplomat and Brexit negotiator Richard Szostak.

Ambassador Franzen has been Head of the Europe Division at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) since January 2021, according to the FDFA website. Under the leadership of the then State Secretary Livia Leu, the law graduate took part in the exploratory talks following the failure of the Framework Agreement.

The talks led to the Common Understanding, which forms the basis for new negotiations with the EU. Fourteen departments and around 60 officials are involved in the negotiations.

Switzerland expert Szostak

Richard Szostak is leading the negotiations on the EU side. The British-Polish EU diplomat has been Director of the Secretariat-General for Western European Partners at the Commission since November 2022. This refers to countries such as the United Kingdom, the states of the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland.

Depending on the topic, his team will include people from different Directorates-General, as a Commission spokesperson said on request. Szostak was previously diplomatic advisor and deputy head of cabinet to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. In this role, he was involved in the Brexit negotiations and has already dealt with the Swiss dossier.


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