Negotiations on a bilateral energy agreement between Switzerland and the European Union are “making good progress”, according to EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger.
He added in an interview with the Swiss Tages-Anzeiger newspaper that being a member of an energy community would bring Switzerland many advantages.
“A decision will be made this year whether an agreement is possible or not and whether Switzerland will join the energy community,” Oettinger said, describing a free energy market with standardised rules as attractive for both sides.
He warned, however, that should Bern not play by EU rules, any future energy network could be built around Switzerland.
“We’re not making threats. But it’s obvious that common internal rules are important to us if we’re talking about a pan-European energy network,” he said.
Oettinger is set to meet Swiss Energy Minister Doris Leuthard in Brussels on Tuesday.
A treaty between Switzerland and the EU has been negotiated since 2007. The Swiss electricity sector was partially liberalised in 2009 while Brussels wants a European-wide common energy market by 2020. Swiss voters have been wary of such a move, rejecting a first proposal to liberalise electricity supply in 2002.
swissinfo.ch and agencies