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Uncertain framework Swiss firms increase EU lobbying

EU flags outside its headquarters in Brussels

Uncertainty about Switzerland's framework agreement with the EU is fueling more company lobbying in Brussels. 

(Keystone)

Swiss companies have sharply increased their lobbying in Brussels in the face of uncertain relations with the European Union.

Switzerland has more companies lobbying in Brussels than many other European countries, writes the SonntagsBlick newspaper, citing the EU’s latest transparency registerexternal link.

According to this register, there are 259 Swiss organisations defending their interests at the European Union. This puts Switzerland in tenth place overall, behind some European countries and the US, but ahead of others. It compares, for example with 244 for Austria, 223 for Poland, 191 for Portugal and 102 for Romania.

The 259 Swiss companies together spend between CHF45 million ($45 million) and CHF60 million ($60 million) a year on their lobbying activities in Brussels. This compares with 171 Swiss companies that spent some CHF35 million to CHF44 million in 2016 when the register was first published.

As well as large multinationals like Novartis, Syngenta and Crédit Suisse, they also include Swiss organisations like the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, the labour organisation Travail Suisse, Swiss Railways, the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention.

This sharp increase in EU lobbying activities by Swiss companies can be attributed mainly to uncertainty surrounding a future framework agreement between Switzerland and the EU, according to the paper. “More Swiss firms feel the need to explain their position to the EU,” Swiss Business Federation chairman Heinz Karrer told SonntagsBlick.


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