The European Union’s lead Brexit negotiator plans to visit Switzerland in order to gain insights into whether the Swiss-EU relationship could serve as a model for Britain’s future economic ties to the European bloc.
According to a report in the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper, Michel Barnier is planning to visit Switzerland in 2018 to discuss with Swiss officials how EU-British market access might work post-Brexit. Swiss Parliamentarian Hans-Peter Portmann shared the news of Barnier’s impending visit with the NZZ am Sonntag after Portmann and Barnier met at a recent gathering for European parliamentarians held in Estonia.
No date has yet been set for the visit, according to the NZZ am Sonntag.
It remains unclear what type of market access Britain would seek to the EU once leaving the bloc. For its part, Switzerland is tied to the European Union market through a series of bilateral accords which have continually come up for debate in recent years.
+ Watch a video about Switzerland’s “special deal” with the EU
The Federal Council and new Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis are currently in talks with the EU over a bilateral deal that would govern what laws Switzerland must adopt from the European Union and how dispute resolution should work.
Cassis has said he wants to “reset” Swiss relations with the EU, and a visit from EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to Switzerland last month indicated a thaw in previously frosty relations between the Swiss and the European bloc.
swissinfo.ch and agencies/vdv