EU-Switzerland talks in stalemate

Brussels 25.04.2021 Talks on future ties between Switzerland and the European Union have once again hit a dead end in April, with Swiss President Guy Parmelin saying that “substantial differences” remain between the two parties, after talks with the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. (Image above: Bern, Switzerland).

Parmelin and von der Leyen held much-anticipated discussions in Brussels on Friday, April 23, in the hope of breaking a negotiating stalemate over an overarching framework agreement between Switzerland and the EU.

Switzerland has demanded that state aid, labour rules and citizens’ rights are removed from a draft agreement that was sketched in 2018, however the EU has refused.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting Parmelin said that Switzerland could not sign the deal as it is but added that the two sides would remain in contact.

Switzerland is not a member of the EU, operating within a set of bilateral agreements. Currently both sides are trying to finalise an institutional “framework agreement” aimed at simplifying future ties between the two parties.

During his meeting with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the Confederation, Guy Parmelin have opted for a diplomatic approach: “We have made progress on certain points. Even though our positions remain at times very distant from those of the EU, we have decided to stay in touch. ”

While commenting on the issue the spokesperson of the Commission Eric Mamer, said that “the text of 2018 is the right one and the one we need”, clearly indicating that it could not be changed further, but the “door to the EU will always remain open” for Switzerland.

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