MEPs Urge Comprehensive Agreement to Foster Trust, Stability, and Prosperity
In a recent report adopted by the Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday, MEPs urged the European Union (EU) and Switzerland to forge a new and modernized relationship to address the current imbalance and strengthen cooperation. The report stressed the need for a comprehensive package agreement that would generate trust, stability, jobs, and welfare while guaranteeing workers’ rights and safeguarding consumers and the environment.
The report highlighted the EU’s strong interest in collaborating with Switzerland as a like-minded partner on various international issues, including peace, security, human rights, and defense matters. Notably, Switzerland aligned itself with the EU sanctions in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, demonstrating its commitment to shared values.
Furthermore, the report underscored the significant economic, social, and cultural ties that several EU countries share with Switzerland, emphasizing that stable relations and frameworks are essential for future cross-border cooperation.
MEPs expressed regret over Switzerland’s decision to terminate negotiations on the EU-Swiss Institutional Framework in May 2021 after seven years of talks. This framework was crucial for Switzerland’s participation in the single market and frictionless trade in various industry sectors. The outdated model based on individual bilateral agreements needs to be replaced with a comprehensive package agreement to ensure legal certainty and further enhance EU-Swiss relations.
The absence of a structural relationship has led to an unbalanced situation, affecting both citizens and businesses on both sides. The Swiss Federal Council has approved key parameters for a negotiation mandate, and MEPs urge both the European Commission and the Swiss Federal Council to utilize this opportunity to reach an agreement on a possible new negotiation package before the current European Commission and European Parliament’s term ends.
Andreas SCHWAB MEP
Andreas SCHWAB MEP, the chair of the delegation dealing with Switzerland, emphasized the importance of exploring joint opportunities in geopolitics, security, research, and innovation between the EU and the country. He stressed the need for more mutual confidence and transparency, especially in areas like the internal market, where a common court could ensure fairness, and the advantages for the economy and labor market should be further emphasized.
Commenting on the report, Andreas SCHWAB said, “The Report adopted today by the European Parliament is another symbol of the willingness of the European Union to intensify relations with Switzerland at all levels. But there have already been many such symbols from our side. As long as the Swiss Federal Council is not willing to demonstrate real commitment in the form of a negotiating mandate, there will unfortunately be no progress in the near future. Today’s discussion between Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič and Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis also remains insubstantial without a concrete commitment to a soon mandate. Instead of taking advantage of the positive momentum, the actual negotiations will be again postponed for an uncertain period of time.”
With the report adopted by 51 votes in favor, 3 against, and no abstentions, it is evident that the EU is eager to establish a new, robust, and modern relationship with Switzerland, and the ball is now in Switzerland’s court to demonstrate its commitment and pave the way for fruitful negotiations. Trust, stability, and cooperation are key to fostering a strengthened partnership between these two entities in the rapidly changing geopolitical landscape.