Amid Brexit drama, the EU flexes its muscles with the Swiss
Dec 01, 2018 (Agencia EFE via COMTEX) —
Brussels, Dec 1 (efe.epa).- The United Kingdom isn’t the only European country tangling with Brussels over future relations with the European Union, Switzerland is in its crosshairs too, according to a Dow Jones Newswires report made available to EFE on Saturday.
The EU has escalated pressure on Switzerland – which isn’t in the EU but has extensive relations with the bloc – to accept an overhaul of their complex bilateral ties.
On Friday, Switzerland moved to protect its stock exchanges should the EU press forward with plans to end a longstanding market-access agreement at the end of the year.
The pressure is deepening tensions with Switzerland, where anti-EU parties are making fresh attempts to limit immigration from the bloc.
For the UK, which has just completed months of tricky talks with the EU on its planned departure, Brussels’s approach to Switzerland offers a reminder that it can be as vigilant in pressing its rules and standards on nonmembers as on those within the bloc, and it isn’t shy about applying leverage to get what it wants.
The EU and Switzerland have been in discussions for years about roughly 120 bilateral treaties governing Swiss-EU ties.
They are negotiating what they call a new framework agreement, which would bundle all the treaties into one accord.
Brussels wants the framework agreement to ensure that Switzerland can’t renege on certain obligations, like free movement of people from the EU, without paying a broader price in terms of EU market access.
Swiss officials have repeatedly said they are pursuing the same goal as the EU but talks have dragged on and the Swiss government has repeatedly delayed the target date for completing negotiations and