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House gives government final say on timing of negotiations with EU

The House of Representatives gives the government maximum leeway on the timing of future membership talks with the European Union.

(Keystone)

The House of Representatives has backed the government's softly-softly approach on possible future membership of the European Union.

The House overwhelmingly rejected a people's initiative calling on the government to open membership talks with the EU immediately. One hundred and thirteen deputies voted against, with 61 votes for and nine abstentions.

The House later voted by 99 to 84 in favour of a counter-proposal giving the government a free hand in deciding when to reactivate its membership bid. The bid was frozen eight years ago because of domestic opposition to closer integration.

The debate on how far and how fast Switzerland should move towards joining the EU has been given fresh momentum with the adoption on May 21 of a series of bilateral accords with Brussels. Sixty-seven per cent of Swiss voters approved the accords.

swissinfo with agencies

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