The European Commission has offered the Swiss stock exchange access to its markets for another six months. This allows Switzerland to hold a consultation process on a proposed “framework agreement” treaty to govern future ties between the two parties.
Brussels had threatened to ban Switzerland’s main trading platform from listing European shares at the end of this year if the treaty remained unsigned. On December 7, the Swiss government said it needed time to consult with political parties, cantons and other stakeholders before giving its answer.
On Monday, Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, announced equivalence would be extended until June 2019.
“The ball is now in Bern’s court,” the Austrian politician said.
In an initial response, the Swiss finance ministry said it had taken note of the six-month extension period, but Switzerland expected to be granted unlimited access.
The ongoing impasse over long-term Swiss stock exchange EU access has been rumbling for a year. Switzerland has threatened to take tit-for-tat action, banning European exchanges from listing Swiss shares, if the EU freezes out the Swiss trading platform.
Since 2014, talks have been taking place to formalise relations between the two sides, now covered by around 120 separate accords that have been negotiated since the Swiss rejected joining the European Economic Area in a 1992 nationwide vote.
The Swiss cabinet said last Friday that rejecting the accord could have a series of negative consequences such as on access to the EU’s electricity market, and on issues ranging from public health and food security to stock market equivalence.