Switzerland’s cabinet will today decide whether to endorse an agreement that will govern the country’s future relations with the European
Switzerland’s cabinet will today decide whether to endorse an agreement that will govern the country’s future relations with the European Union.
The framework agreement would see the Swiss automatically adapt labour and migration laws to changes made by Brussels. In exchange, Switzerland would maintain access to the EU’s single market.
Switzerland has long resisted joining the European Union. Indeed, while Bern has pursued closer economic ties with Brussels via a patchwork of 120 treaties, it has also sought to keep the bloc at arm’s length. But with a looming Brexit forcing the EU to re-define its relations with non-EU states, Brussels is now pushing for further Swiss integration.
If today’s framework agreement isn’t passed, Brussels says it will prohibit EU-based institutions from trading on the Swiss stock exchange—Europe’s fourth largest—after December 31. The Swiss would likely retaliate in kind.
The cabinet may well delay today’s decision, instead opting for a public consultation period while the complexity of Brexit is worked out. Even if the treaty is endorsed today, it will almost certainly need to be put to a referendum, where nationalist parties will campaign for its rejection.
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