Swiss set eyes on new set of EU treaties

The cabinet is considering a third package of bilateral treaties with the European Union as part of its policy with the 27-nation bloc.

This content was published on January 26, 2011 minutes

“The government believes such an approach would be most promising,” a foreign ministry statement said on Wednesday.

No further details were revealed. However, Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann on  Monday proposed linking electricity with agriculture and tax issues.

Over the past decade Switzerland and the EU have concluded two packages of bilateral treaties covering 16 different policy areas..

Switzerland is pursuing a “coordinated approach” in further negotiations with Brussels including talks on “institutional issues”, a government spokesman said.

President Micheline Calmy-Rey is due to meet EU leaders for exploratory talks in Brussels on February 8.

The EU says the time for bilateral treaties is over. It wants Switzerland to adopt EU rules automatically and is also promoting the institution of a arbitration court.

The Swiss government has insisted that it wants to continue with bilateral accords and has ruled out the automatic adoption of EU law.

In a first reaction, the New European Movement group welcomed the proposals to break a political deadlock. However, the rightwing Swiss People’s Party has rejected a new packet of accords as unnecessary.

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