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Swiss Industry Seeks "Institutional Development" Of EU Accords

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

30 December 2013

Swiss business federation Economiesuisse has underlined the need for the further institutional development of bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the European Union (EU).

While making clear that this is a prerequisite for improving access for Swiss industry to the EU Single Market, the federation nevertheless warned that the Confederation must at the same time preserve its autonomy in certain key areas of economic policy, during the negotiations.

Alluding to the fact that 60 percent of Swiss exports flow to the EU, Economiesuisse emphasized that for Switzerland as an export nation, integration into the European Single Market is therefore very important. However, since 2008, talks on improving mutual market access have effectively been blocked, the federation noted.

This year, Switzerland and the EU have for the first time been able to draw up common solutions to the problem, and have recently adopted a corresponding negotiating position, the group explained.

Underlining its support for the negotiating stance of the Swiss Government, Economiesuisse nevertheless put forward its own recommendations. Economiesuisse stressed that above all Switzerland's autonomy, in particular its economic relations with third states and its tax and labor laws, must be maintained. Furthermore, the federation rejected the idea of direct monitoring by the European Commission.

Arbitration must be based on the law of the bilateral agreements in place, the body said. Although the principle of a uniform adoption of EU law in the bilateral treaties makes sense in most cases, the recognition of equivalent regulations in Switzerland is indicated in a number of areas, it said.

Concluding, Economiesuisse underscored that there are no advantages for Switzerland in waiting: current bilateral accords must swiftly be aligned with legislative developments in the EU, otherwise integration into the EU Single Market will only get progressively harder, the federation ended.

TAGS: tax | business | law | agreements | Switzerland | regulation | European Union (EU) | Europe

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