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Impasse Negotiations on EU-Swiss framework accord stalled

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The EU argues not enough progress has been made in talks with Switzerland over a agreement to boost bilateral relations.

(Keystone)

Talks between Switzerland and the European Union about an agreement on bilateral ties appear to be on hold.

The EU Commission said on Tuesday that negotiations had made some progress but that “no breakthrough” had been possible.

Switzerland’s chief negotiator Roberto Balzaretti for his part refused to answer questions by journalists in Brussels.

The EU had set a deadline of mid-October to wrap up nearly four years of negotiations. The main differences between the two sides are apparently issues over access to the Swiss labour market and government subsidies.

A spokeswoman for the EU said it was now up to political leaders to assess the situation and to decide whether or not to formally abandon talks.

Government reaction

The Swiss government on Wednesday announced it had taken note of the results of the negotiations.

"What matters most is the quality of an agreement," a cabinet spokesman told the media. "The government will release its decision in due time."

However, it dismissed any notion of a mid-October deadline.

It is not clear whether the Swiss president, Alain Berset, is still planning to travel to Brussels later this week to meet the EU Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker.

The 28-nation bloc has threatened to hamper access to the EU stock markets for Swiss banks if Switzerland continues to block progress towards framework agreement, covering the more than 120 bilateral accords between the two sides.

However, the Swiss government argues there is no majority in parliament for such an agreement with the country’s main trading partner.

swissinfo.ch with SDA-ATS; urs

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