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Europa Forum Berset calls for pragmatic approach in EU policy

Alain Berset, interior minister and 2018 president, at the Europa Forum

Berset says the bilateral relations with Brussels have to be taken to a new level, using pragmatic solutions.

(Keystone)

The Swiss president, Alain Berset, says both Switzerland and the European Union have a mutual interest in stable bilateral relations.

Speaking at the Europa Forum in Lucerne external linkon Monday, Berset said it is crucial to develop further the more than 120 treaties as they formed a “good balance between economic and political interests”.

Berset who holds the portfolio as interior minister in the Swiss government, said much of the scepticism of Swiss citizens towards Brussels was the result of the strong Swiss identity and its commitment to institutions.

“We are EU sceptics because we are so European. But we certainly are no anti-Europeans,” Berset said.

He added the only way forward was to define the national interest with tried and tested pragmatism.

Relations between non-EU member Switzerland and its biggest trading partner suffered a setback following voters’ decision in 2014 to curb immigration from the 28-nation bloc.

Attempts to agree on an institutional framework agreement and further bilateral deals have been stalled as the Swiss multi-party government is hoping to present its strategy within the next few months.

+ The challenges of framing the terms of future ties with the EU

swissinfo.ch with SDA-ATS/ug


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