The president of the European Commission is urging Switzerland to reach an agreement with Brussels as soon as possible and rejects the possibility of a partial Swiss-EU framework deal.
"Time is running out," Jean-Claude Juncker said in an interview with Swiss public television, RTS. “Negotiate with me, conclude with me, because within a year I will no longer be there, and you will see.”
He warned “it could be really bad” for Switzerland after his departure.
Juncker said he wants “a global agreement” and dismissed the idea of an incremental agreement.
The president also wants to avoid EU negotiations with Switzerland to overlap with the European bloc’s talks with the United Kingdom, which are focused on how to manage the relationship post-Brexit.
He was speaking the day after his last State of the European Union speech in the French city of Strasbourg, seat of the European Parliament, where he called for a stronger Europe.
Brussels and Bern have been in talks since 2014 in a bid to formalise relations between the two sides, now covered by around 100 separate accords.
Special measures to protect Swiss wages and working conditions – so-called flanking measures for the free movement of persons – top a long list of unresolved issues.