Swiss Minister Calls For 'Marriage Of Convenience' With EU| MENAFN.COM

Thursday, 06 October 2022 11:16 GMT

Swiss Minister Calls For 'Marriage Of Convenience' With EU


(MENAFN- Swissinfo)

Switzerland needs to move closer to Europe, the Alpine nation's“obvious partner”, says Simonetta Sommaruga.

This content was published on August 7, 2022 - 12:21 August 7, 2022 - 12:21 Keystone-SDA/ts

“Now there is war in Europe, we have been asking ourselves for weeks whether our foreign policy compass is right,” she said on Saturday evening at the Locarno Film Festival.

The war in Ukraine has been a wake-up call for many people, not just for energy policy but also for foreign policy, said Sommaruga, who heads the energy, environment, transport and communications ministry.“We will not find comprehensive security just by spending more money on our army. We will find comprehensive security in and with Europe.”

Europe, as the past few weeks have dramatically shown, is“a question of war and peace” – also for Switzerland, she said. It was therefore time for a new start with Europe,“a start under new conditions”.

Sommaruga admitted that for some people Europe would never be close to their heart.“Nor does it have to be – a marriage of convenience would be enough.”

She said for the next step – the step towards Europe – courage, steadfastness and a stable political majority were needed.“But this next step also needs an honest and binding commitment from the government, a clear majority of the parties and the business community.”

This step also needed a realistic assessment of Switzerland's options in order to find a solution together with the EU, she concluded.

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Switzerland wants to intensify talks with EU

This content was published on Jun 17, 2022 Jun 17, 2022 Switzerland resolves to 'step up' exploratory talks with the EU aimed at resolving differences concerning future bilateral relations.

Accusations of inflexibility

Switzerland has repeatedly rejected EU demands to replace a series of separate treaties with a unified set of rules. In May 2021 Switzerland walked out on these negotiationsExternal link on the grounds that voters were likely to reject such an arrangement.

Since then, political relations have remained frosty with both sides accusing the other of inflexibility. Diplomats have formally met twice in an effort to resolve the impasse and the Swiss government has now indicated that it wants to intensify the pace of these discussions.

Switzerland has already put forward a set of proposalsExternal link for the EU. These include a proposal for the“full implementation” of the free movement of people between Switzerland and the EU. This has been a major area of contention since Swiss voters agreed to adopt quotas on foreign workers in 2014. However, a subsequent referendum in 2020 to tighten immigration even further was roundly rejected .

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