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Blocher denounced by allies over bilateral accords with Europe

The head of Switzerland's anti-European lobby, Christoph Blocher, has been denounced for softening his position over the bilateral accords. The movement for a neutral and independent Switzerland says it intends to vote no to the accords.

Blocher's movement turned on him after he urged members not to oppose the bilateral accords with the European Union.

The movement rejected Blocher's plea saying it would recommend that Switzerland vote against the bilaterals, which go to a nationwide vote on May 21.

Blocher had said he did not believe the bilateral accords with the EU threatened Swiss sovereignty.

But the members disagreed with him by a margin of 325 to 190, overruling the parliamentarian's call for them to keep away from the EU treaties issue. The meeting in Berne on Saturday failed to give the movement's president its usual ovation. Instead, vague discontent with his speech was uttered.

Addressing over 1000 members in the capital, Blocher had said the bilaterals were simply about getting a better deal for Switzerland, and had nothing to do with Swiss neutrality or sovereignty.

Instead, he had called on members to concentrate their fire on the proposed reform of the Swiss army and Swiss membership of the EU.

swissinfo with agencies

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