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Swiss stick to position over EU bilateral ties

Switzerland has rejected criticism by the European Union about its allegedly poor application of the bilateral treaties and about Swiss tax laws.

The cabinet is convinced that the accords with Brussels are applied correctly, a government spokesman said.

He added that on Wednesday the ministers discussed future relations between Switzerland and the EU on the basis of an interim report by a mixed working group.

The experts had been asked to present proposals by the end of this year about ways to develop relations between Switzerland and the 27-nation bloc.

The EU has repeatedly said the current policy based on bilateral accords cannot continue and called for the establishment of an arbitration body to deal with contentious issues.

Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey is due to meet the president of the European Commission, José Manual Barroso, in the first few months of next year.

Switzerland has concluded more than 120 bilateral accords with Brussels, but it is not a member of the EU.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR