Members of the conservative right Swiss People’s Party and the centre-right Radical Party have voiced their concerns over the billion-franc-package promised to the European Union by the Swiss government last week.
The Swiss People’s Partyexternal link has already launched a parliamentary initiative to put the matter to a referendum. In an interview with Sunday newspaper SonntagsBlick, People’s Party President Albert Rösti said that any parliamentarian who tried to block the referendum would be “trying to smuggle the cohesion millions past the people”.
In an interview with newspapers Zentralschweiz am Sonntag and Ostschweiz am Sonntag, Radical Partyexternal link President Petra Gössi also expressed resistance to the funding. She said that she would only agree to it if it meant the end of the so-called guillotine clause – which dictates that Switzerland’s failure to make good on 120 bilateral agreements with Brusselsexternal link would cost Switzerland its whole bilateral package deal with the 28-nation group.
Since 2008, Switzerland has contributed to the bloc’s “Cohesion Fundexternal link” aimed at reducing economic and social disparities within the EU. The ten-year programme, worth CHF1.3 billion, is up for renewal.