The Senate has come out against a counterproposal to a people's initiative aimed a launching immediate talks on membership with the European Union.This content was published on September 28, 2000 - 15:59
Ending weeks of wrangling in parliament, the Senate on Thursday decided to throw out the counterproposal. It would enshrine the government's long-term aim of seeking full EU membership, but leaves the government a free hand to decide on the moment of launching into talks.
Most speakers said it would be wrong for parliament to commit itself. They acknowledged that steps towards European integration should continue, but more time was needed to consider the effects of a series of bilateral treaties with the EU approved earlier this year.
The Senate also said it wants to review the possibility of further options and necessary legal amendments.
Mainly members of the Social Democratic Party and representatives from the French- and Italian speaking parts of the country voted for the counterproposal, in line with the House of Representatives and the government.
The foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, reaffirmed the government's position and called for initiative on immediate membership talks to be withdrawn. The electorate is expected to overwhelmingly reject the initiative, when it comes to a vote next year.
swissinfo with agencies
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