According to a government report, the bilateral route is most advantageous for Switzerland in its relations with the European Union (EU).
The draft report “Assessment of Swiss–EU relations” commissioned by the Swiss government has concluded that the bilateral approach remains the best solution for Switzerland.
Switzerland's current options in European policy were assessed on the basis of four criteria: access to the single market, possibilities for cooperation, political room for manoeuvre and feasibility in foreign policy.
The report examined all the options on the table: free trade relations, continuing the bilateral path, joining the European Economic Area and joining the EU. The conclusion was that the bilateral path remains the best option.
“The report takes into account that before Switzerland and the EU can start negotiations, they must find sufficient common ground. Accordingly, the exploratory talks are to be actively continued,” said an official government statement on Friday.
The report was commissioned by the government after repeated calls from parliament to take more interest in Swiss-EU policy.
In 2021, Switzerland unilaterally broke off negotiations with the EU on a framework deal to replace the more than 120 bilateral accords which have regulated relations for the past decades. That led to a souring of relations between Bern and Brussels. Subsequent efforts to break the diplomatic deadlock have not succeeded.
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