Eleven European Union countries have signed a letter in support of Switzerland after the EU in December slapped a one-year limit on Swiss stock exchange access to its markets, Swiss public television SRF has revealed.
The letter, reproduced on the SRF website on Tuesdayexternal link, is signed among others by Switzerland’s neighbours Germany and Austria, as well as the United Kingdom. SRF describes the support as “unexpected”.
The letter has been sent to the European Commission.
In November 2017, EU member states decided to continue their support of the “equivalence” condition for the Swiss stock market for an unlimited period. Shortly after however, the European Commission, headed by Jean-Claude Juncker, changed course and limited the condition to one year only.
The signatories argue that the Commission’s turnaround would only be justified under extraordinary circumstances, which they say do not apply in Switzerland’s case. The eleven member-states said that they would continue to support unlimited equivalence for the Swiss stock market.
Swiss-EU relations have been strained in recent years by migration and corporate tax disputes, which have bogged down negotiations on how the bilateral relationship will move forwards in future. This includes EU market access - or financial equivalence - for Swiss finance players in the wake of EU regulatory reforms.
According to the SRF article, the Commission’s decision to limit stock market access is a way of applying pressure on Switzerland to move forward with negotiations for a new framework agreement on bilateral relations.