1st May 2014

Negotiations ahead between EU and Switzerland

On 30 April, the Permanent Representatives Committee of the Council was scheduled to approve the negotiating mandate for the forthcoming EU-Switzerland framework agreement negotiations. Relations between EU and Switzerland are organized around a complicated web of narrow sectoral agreements and it has long been considered that some framework for the relationship should be adopted. The negotiations on the framework agreement, which is to govern the existing and future sectoral agreements and governs issues such as conflict resolution mechanism, were suspended after the February referendum in Switzerland. The referendum ruled for a cap on immigration also from the EU countries, with which Switzerland has a free movement agreement. Following the referendum, the Swiss government refused to ratify the so-called Croatian protocol to the bilateral agreement, giving also Croatian citizens the right of free movement following the 2013 entry of Croatia into the EU. The Swiss government only promised informally that the Croats are to be treated in the same way as other EU citizens. Formal ratification of the protocol was, however, not possible due to the legally binding referendum. As a reaction to the Swiss stance, the EU suspended its cooperation with Switzerland on research and student-exchange projects. The forthcoming negotiations will reveal the future relationship between EU and Switzerland.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic