Switzerland and UK move closer to deal on security cooperation

Swiss Justice Minister, Karen Keller-Sutter. Keystone / Anthony Anex

The agreement being negotiated would ensure that cooperation on security affairs would not suffer, should Brexit disrupt the UK’s role in the Schengen information-sharing system.

This content was published on August 22, 2020 - 13:02

In an interview with the Neue Zürcher Zeitung on Saturday, Swiss Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter said that the deal, currently being negotiated, would hopefully be signed soon.

“We don’t want any gaps appearing, from a security point of view, if cooperation through the Schengen agreement was to end because of Brexit,” she said.

The Schengen agreement, which includes the UK and most European Union (EU) members, allows police to share information on suspect individuals and their movements across the bloc.

“The UK is an excellent partner in the fight against terrorism. [Switzerland] has the UK to thank for almost all its successful jihadist arrests,” Keller-Sutter told the NZZ, adding that since the beginning of the month, a Swiss police attaché has been based in London.

The security deal would be in line with the Swiss government’s “Mind the GapExternal link” strategy, which aims to ensure continued cooperation between Bern and London once the UK fully leaves the EU – which previously mediated many links between the two.

In a similar vein, a social security deal was provisionally penned last year to safeguard the rights of the 35,400 Swiss living in Britain and 41,400 Brits living in Switzerland. A memorandum of understanding on police cooperation and a provisional labour market access deal have also been signed.

While the UK officially left the EU in January, it is currently in a transition period during which it is still adhering to many European agreements. Negotiations to hash out a post-transition deal, to come into force in 2021, are ongoing.

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