EU Membership Is Only Solution To Achieve Swiss Goals, Says Former Minister


(MENAFN- Swissinfo) Former Swiss government minister Joseph Deiss says future membership of the European Union is the only way for Switzerland to achieve its European goals.

This content was published on April 23, 2024 - 12:54 3 minutes Keystone-SDA
  • Português pt Ex-ministro diz que adesão à UE é única solução para Suíça Read more: Ex-ministro diz que adesão à UE é única solução para Suíça

Switzerland must negotiate hard with Brussels, but at the moment it is basically going from one makeshift solution to the next, he declared in an interview published in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) on Tuesday.

The former government minister remains a strong advocate of Switzerland joining the EU.

“Accession is the only way to reach the goal with Europe,” Deiss said.

+ Switzerland and EU want to negotiate, but optimism is limited

Joining the EU would not mean political suicide, contrary to the prevailing opinion, but a gain in sovereignty, he said.

Fears did not materialise

The former foreign minister described some aspects of Switzerland's current European policy as“hair-raising”. Regarding the free movement of people, it is“perfidious” that problems which could arise from asylum migration are being conflated with the volume of labour migration, he said.

+ Switzerland renegotiates with the EU after almost three years

Since the adoption of Swiss-EU Bilateral Agreements I with the free movement of people in 2000, the opposite has happened to the fears invoked at the time, said Deiss.

“Has there been more unemployment here? Was there wage pressure? Not at all,” he declared. Instead, there are 100,000 job vacancies and 26,000 unfilled apprenticeship positions, he said.

The Bilateral Agreements I was his first important dossier as foreign minister, Deiss told NZZ.

'Historic mistake'

The Swiss electorate rejected accession to the European Economic Area (EEA) in 1992 and instead embarked on the bilateral path. According to Deiss, the 'no' vote was a“historic mistake” and he is convinced that if Switzerland had joined the EEA, many of today's problems with the EU would have been solved long ago.

“Our delusion remains that we think we are entitled to be treated better as a non-member than as a member of the EU,” he said.

Adapted from German by DeepL/kp/sb

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