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Swiss-EU war of words heats up

The European Union ambassador to Switzerland, Michael Reiterer, has rejected criticism that the EU is hindering negotiations on a new bilateral treaty.

Reiterer said comments in the Sunday press by this year’s Swiss president, Micheline Calmy-Rey, were not justified.

He argued that it was the EU who was waiting for proposals from the Swiss government on how to move forward.

Reiterer explained that Switzerland had recognised that there were problems concerning institutional issues and had commissioned two studies in order to come up with solutions.

“We’re now waiting for the results and proposals from the Swiss government based on them,” the ambassador said.


In an interview with the SonntagsZeitung newspaper, Calmy-Rey, also Swiss foreign minister, hit out at what she described as the EU’s “passivity” in current negotiations.

Conceding that discussions about a new bilateral agreement were “difficult at the moment”, she said it was necessary to consolidate bilateral measures to ensure Swiss business access to European markets.
For its part, the EU has an interest in having “regulations which guarantee it tax revenues from its citizens and businesses”, Calmy-Rey said.

She said the EU had adopted an “unacceptable attitude” in wanting to set a deadline for the introduction of measures to recognise diplomas, which was “too short for our decisional processes, and without having consulted us”.

She added that any discussions had to “take into account a package of measures”.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR