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Framework treaty Voters unlikely to accept EU deal: Swiss president

Ueli Maurer

Ueli Maurer doubts the Swiss-EU treaty would survive a referendum.


Swiss President Ueli Maurer has urged the European Union to renegotiate parts of a deal to create framework conditions governing future ties between the two sides. Maurer believes Swiss voters would not agree to the proposed version if it comes to a referendum.

Speaking to television station Tele Züri on Sunday, Maurer said: “As things stand today, the framework agreement would not be accepted. So we would still have to make substantial renegotiations.”

Maurer, who holds the portfolio of finance minister, took on the rotating role of presidency at the start of 2019 for one year.

Last month, the Swiss government said it needed time to send the proposed Swiss-EU framework treaty out for public consultation. As a result, the Swiss stock market gained an extra six months access to the EU market.

"We are now engaged in consultations, looking at where there are any differences [between Switzerland and the EU],” Maurer said. “That will probably give us a dossier that we will have to bring back to Brussels and say: 'We want to talk about this again'.”

Since 2014, talks have been taking place to formalise relations between the two sides, now covered by around 120 separate accords that have been negotiated since a 1992 referendum in the Alpine state rejected joining the European Economic Area. 

The proposed overarching agreement on the table covers five of the larger bilateral deals: free movement of persons, mutual recognition of industrial standards, agricultural products, air transport and land transport. Under the negotiated accord, Swiss rules would automatically adapt to be in line with EU law. 

The treaty would also aim to provide a more effective platform to resolve disputes using arbitration panels to handle disagreements while still giving the European Court of Justice (ECJ) a say in how to interpret law.

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