EU Wants to Discuss Post-Election Roadmap With Switzerland


Maros Sefcovic, the European Commissioner in charge of Swiss-EU relations, is meeting Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis on Tuesday. He says he wants to talk about how negotiations are going to continue after Swiss federal elections on October 22.

The first task would be to take stock of the Switzerland-EU talks, Sefcovic said in Brussels on Thursday on the sidelines of a media conference on joint gas purchases in the EU.

The EU is aware of the federal elections at the end of October, he said. “We respect that.” He therefore also wanted to talk about a roadmap for after the elections.

In doing so, Sefcovic said he wanted to “increase the chances and the possibility of a successful outcome of the negotiations”. This would be the “best possible news for the EU and Switzerland”.

He added that work was underway on a document that defines “common landing zones”: areas in which Switzerland and the EU see the possibility of moving closer together.

To get this far, it has taken ten rounds of exploratory talks between State Secretary Livia Leu and her EU negotiating partner Juraj Nociar, as well as several meetings at the technical level.

In June, the government finally defined the parameters of a mandate for negotiations with the EU. It also intends to prepare for the adoption of a mandate by the end of the year.

War of words

The EU has long demanded a foundational set of principles to govern political and economic ties to replace the current rambling set of bilateral deals that have been hammered out over decades.

But talks on a new framework treaty broke down in 2021 when Switzerland walked away from the negotiating table.

Following a war of words, both parties have held a series of exploratory talks in an attempt to revive official negotiations.

‘Rather tight’

Cassis spoke at the end of June about a possible timetable from Switzerland’s point of view, saying the mandate could not be adopted before January. “From a purely technical point of view, we cannot do anything before January,” he said.

Because of the federal elections at the end of October, the new parliamentary commissions will probably not be able to take up their work until January. This is important because the two foreign affairs commissions have the right to be consulted on the negotiating mandate.

Sefcovic reiterated on Thursday that it was the great wish of the European Commission to conclude the negotiations with Switzerland during its mandate, which ends in autumn 2024. He conceded that this timeframe was “rather tight”.

Source : Swissinfo