Swiss foreign minister says no EU accord talks before late 2020

As a non-EU member state, Switzerland's relations with the bloc are governed by 120 bilateral treaties. Keystone
This content was published on April 25, 2020 - 13:37
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Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis says reaching a framework agreement with the European Union is no longer the country’s top priority on account of the coronavirus pandemic.

"What matters now is to save lives and avoid catastrophic economic consequences," the Saturday press quoted him as saying.

Brussels and Bern have spent years negotiating a framework accord to replace more than 120 bilateral agreements.

The deal, according to the minister, will not be up for rediscussion before late 2020 or early 2021.

Switzerland is not a member of 27-nation bloc, but the EU is its main trading partner.

Opening borders gradually

In an interview with Blick newspaper, the minister said that Switzerland will “gradually open its borders in consultation with neighbouring countries.”

Switzerland, Cassis told the German-language newspaper, boasts sufficient hospital capacity and has the pandemic under control. The goal now is to prevent second wave of infections.

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