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Calls for policy rethink over relations with EU

Switzerland has to consider closer ties with the European Union to maintain its sovereignty and position as a wealthy nation, experts say.

This content was published on July 15, 2010 minutes

A book by the think tank, Avenir Suisse, says continuing relations with EU on the basis of bilateral treaties are not promising for the future.

The authors recommend three possible scenarios: a new attempt at joining the European Economic Area treaty, full membership of the EU – albeit without taking over the euro currency - or a global alliance of small and medium-sized states in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Voters in 1992 narrowly rejected the Economic Area Treaty at the polls following a campaign by the rightwing Swiss People’s Party.

Over the years Switzerland and the EU have concluded more than 20 major bilateral accords, but critics say the system is becoming unwieldy.

An application for EU membership has effectively been shelved, but not withdrawn.

Avenir Suisse, a policy institute with close ties to the Swiss business community, was founded in 1999.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch and agencies

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