Bern / Brussels (dpa) – A fat EU ass sits on little Switzerland and crushes it: with such a poster, the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) stirred up the vote against the EU last year.
Your attempt to restrict the free movement of people within the EU failed in the referendum. But, as the Swiss say, there are many problems between the partners. Bern no longer wants to accept a laboriously negotiated framework agreement on bilateral relations in the form agreed upon.
Next Friday, there is now a crisis meeting between Swiss President Guy Parmelin and European Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels. What is it about? An overview:
THE RELATIONSHIPS: EU citizens have easy access to the lucrative Swiss labor market because of the free movement of people. In return, Switzerland has some access to the EU’s internal market. At the end of 2019, more than 1.4 million citizens from the EU, as well as from Iceland and Norway lived in Switzerland – that was 16 percent of the population. Among them were more than 300,000 Germans. Switzerland handles 60 percent of its total trade volume with the EU. Conversely, Switzerland is the EU’s fourth largest trading partner, after the US, China and Great Britain. The relationship is governed by various bilateral agreements.
THE FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT: The EU now wants to place all bilateral agreements under a framework agreement. This should regulate the faster adoption of new legal provisions and the question of who decides on the interpretation of contracts in disputes. The negotiators reached an agreement on the agreement at the end of 2018 after years of struggle. Since then, Swiss unionists, right-wing politicians and constitutional lawyers have shot it in such a way that the government is crawling back. If they are signed, there is a risk of a referendum in which the contract is likely to fail.
THE CRACKING POINTS: First, state aid. Swiss cantons fear that they could obtain a tax exemption for competition reasons to encourage companies to establish themselves there. Second, the Union Citizens’ Directive. Although it’s not in the contract at all, Switzerland still wants the assurance that it will never have to take it. Then EU citizens would have faster access to Swiss social assistance. Third: wage protection. Artisans from the EU must register orders in Switzerland eight days in advance. This should protect the domestic economy with its high wages. The framework agreement would shorten this to four days – the unions are against it. Fourth: “Foreign judges”: many Swiss do not want the European Court of Justice to rule on a dispute.
THE PRINT: Switzerland has supported the integration of new EU members since 2006 with the cohesion billion, one billion francs (about 900 million euros) for ten years. The planned new billion has since stopped her because there is no deal. The EU threatens to stop negotiating new market access agreements and not update the old ones. For example, an electricity deal has been suspended and the agreement on the mutual recognition of medical goods in May will not be renewed. The EU has already turned a thumbs-up: it no longer recognizes the Swiss stock exchange as equivalent.
EU politicians are now expressing impatience. “Switzerland must finally say whether it still wants the agreement at all, and if not, how the existing fundamental issues could be resolved as an alternative,” said Swiss delegation chairman Andreas Schwab (CDU) at the meeting. meeting about this Friday. “Swiss bells work exactly, the Swiss hanging game is embarrassing.”