Navigation

Campaign launched for EU membership negotiations

Supporters of the initiative are hoping for an honourable defeat Keystone

Supporters of closer ties with the European Union have called on voters to approve a people's initiative to begin immediate talks with Brussels on EU membership. The issue will come to a nationwide vote in March.

This content was published on January 9, 2001 - 11:38

Members of the initiative committee said in Bern on Tuesday that Switzerland was at a crossroads.

"We have to decide whether we want to take part in building the future of Europe, or whether we remain isolated," said the committee's president, Marc Suter.

Another speaker said: "It is no use delaying the question any more, because the longer we wait the higher the political price Switzerland has to pay for EU membership."

However, the committee recognised that its chances of winning on March 4 are slim. It hopes to score a symbolic victory by convincing a majority of voters and at least seven of the 26 cantons to vote in favour.

To pass, the initiative must be accepted by both a majority of voters and a majority of cantons.

The government and parliament have come out against the initiative, saying it is too early to seek membership talks with Brussels.

Last year, voters approved a series of bilateral accords with the EU, but ratification of the treaties is still pending in most EU member countries.

The pro-Europe initiative was launched in 1995 and is supported mainly by centre-left parties and trade unions. But most centre-right parties, which have a majority in parliament, and the cabinet are opposed.

swissinfo with agencies

This article was automatically imported from our old content management system. If you see any display errors, please let us know: community-feedback@swissinfo.ch

Comments under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at english@swissinfo.ch.

Share this story

Join the conversation!

With a SWI account, you have the opportunity to contribute on our website.

You can Login or register here.