An UBS poll of 2,500 entrepreneurs and senior managers underscored the importance that Swiss business leaders assign to relations with their biggest export market in spite of the UK vote to leave the bloc undermining the EU cohesion.
Nearly two out of three top executives would prefer Switzerland to put ties with the European Union on a new footing by adopting a comprehensive treaty replacing the existing patchwork of bilateral sectoral accords, a survey showed.
It also shows a split between business and right-wing political parties that oppose ceding too much power to the EU under a treaty that would make Switzerland automatically adopt EU rules with an EU court as dispute referee.
The survey showed two thirds of respondents wish an institutional framework agreement with the EU27 , while one third is in favor of keeping the existing bilateral accords, and only eight procent back scrapping the bilateral agreements.
The existing accords ease Swiss access to the Single market in return for ‘free movement of people’ between EU and Switzerland. The Swiss parliament last year dodged a conflict with Brussels by adopting a system that aims to curb immigration by giving local people first crack at open jobs, skirting voters’ demand for outright quotas in a binding 2014 referendum.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said last week after meeting Swiss President Doris Leuthard that a provisional treaty could be ready by year’s end.