Swiss call for open borders
Switzerland has called on the European Commission to convince member states that the Swiss should be a party to the Schengen and Dublin accords, covering border and asylum issues.
The Swiss justice minister, Ruth Metzler, told the European commissioner for judicial affairs, Antonio Vitorino, at their first meeting in Brussels that Switzerland wanted a clear statement of intent from the EU.
Metzler made it clear Switzerland was prepared to accept all the terms of the Schengen accord, which abolishes border controls between its members.
Metzler also said any accord with the EU on customs fraud must be accompanied by an agreement on security cooperation.
No date has been set for a new round of talks on a fresh set of bilateral treaties with the EU.
The Swiss government said last week that the next round of negotiations would cover seven issues, which it maintains are ready to be put on the table, and three others treaties which still need more preparation.
The three include the Dublin and Schengen treaties, and tax evasion, which is also the subject of ongoing discussions between Bern and Brussels.
The Swiss people approved a first set of bilateral treaties, mainly covering trade issues, with the EU last year, but their implementation has been delayed because only two-thirds of EU parliaments have ratified them. The Swiss government expects them to have gained full parliamentary approval by the end of this year.
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