Swiss moot energy deal with EU

The cabinet has decided to seek a bilateral accord with the European Union on access to cross-border electricity.

This content was published on February 1, 2012 minutes

Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter said the deal could be part of parallel negotiations on a solution to institutional issues with Brussels, including an arbitration panel and the application of the EU’s legal standards.

He said Switzerland was also willing to discuss controversial tax issues if the EU did not block implementation of separate deals with Germany and Britain on a withholding tax system.

As part of the government’s latest policy gambit Switzerland also hinted it might be willing to discuss a further payment to new EU member countries to reduce economic disparities within the 27-member nation bloc.

Burkhalter said the government would send a formal letter to Brussels explaining its position. No date has yet been set for a high-level meeting.

Switzerland has concluded more than 120 accords with the EU but negotiations on further accords have effectively stalled for more than a year.

The EU is Switzerland’s main trading partner, but Swiss voters in 1992 threw out a proposal for an European Economic Area treaty, a halfway house to full EU membership.

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