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Swiss minister confident over future EU ties

Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has downplayed differences with the European Union over the future of bilateral treaties between the two sides.

Calmy-Rey said comments by the EU justice commissioner, Viviane Reding, did not have to be taken at face value and were part of political “muscle flexing”.

Reding last week indicated that non-EU member Switzerland did not play a major role in Brussels political considerations. Talks over bilateral accords are currently on hold.

Calmy-Rey explained both sides had a common interest to find solutions and exploratory talks over a new framework agreement might be concluded by the end of December.

A dispute over tax issues and the exchange of information have no direct impact on discussions over a possible tightening of bilateral relations, Calmy-Rey told journalists in Bern on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, EU tax commissioner Algirdas Semeta has called on Switzerland to step up cooperation on fiscal matters, notably an automatic exchange of information with the 27-member bloc.

He indirectly criticised Germany and Britain for agreeing to negotiations on separate tax deals with Switzerland. and agencies


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