There was shock and anger in Brussels. A quiet holiday in Switzerland, but for some, doubts about what will follow.
Bern announced on Wednesday that it was official leaving the negotiations Codify further relations with the EU in one common “framework agreement”. mutual exchange, which dominates more and more relations with Brussels since 2014.
“You would never have signed such a contract in business,” said Philipp Erzinger, head of the Compras Europe anti-level advocacy campaign. “It was one-sided. It required us to pass EU legislation without saying “No” to any mechanism. It would be a direct intervention in our system of direct Swiss cantons. “
It was time for the opponents of the process similar to the British referendum end the alliance, the types of Swexit, membership.
There are paral orbits. Switzerland has never been in the EU, rejecting membership of the European Economic Area in a 1992 referendum.
However, according to 120 bilateral agreements, it has almost full access to the EU internal market and is a member of the passport-free travel zone. It is closely aligned with the alliance that surrounds it on huge economic and legal issues.
Even so, without a framework agreement, the EU will not change or modernize bilateral agreements when it changes its own rules. As a result, the Swiss will gradually lose access, creating uncertainty for businesses and residents.
Switzerland is the EU’s fourth largest trading partner. There are more than 1.4 million EU citizens living in Switzerland. According to customs authorities, about 330,000 people cross the Swiss land border every day.
The decision was a huge victory for the Swiss right-wing populist Swiss People’s Party (SVP), which has long campaigned against the concession of land to Brussels, Switzerland.
For the most part, however, there was little sense of a political earthquake in Switzerland on Thursday morning, unlike in the UK on June 24 five years ago.
“Frankly, I do not yet have a direct sense of the impact on our business,” said Hugo Roppel, CEO of the Swiss cargo group Va ni Logistics. “The most irrational thing would be to say that we need Europe and Europe needs Switzerland. “I think it is necessary for everyone to rest for a while, then the negotiations can start again.”
According to Martin Jansen, CEO of Ecofin, a financial software company based in Ur, Switzerland, Switzerland should be “allowed to be different.” The framework agreement did not provide for that, he said.
After seven years of diplomatic frustration, many Swiss are simply happy to be able to move forward.
The country’s largest newspapers strongly supported the Federal Council’s move. “Despite all the sympathy [one might have] “To cross the narrow national borders that have led to so many wars in Europe, you do not have to sign everything Brussels wants,” wrote the large-scale left-wing newspaper Tages-Anzeiger.
Lucas Golder, president of GFS Bern, a leading Swiss researcher, says such an attitude is probably typical of most Swiss.
There was widespread support for closer relations with the EU, he said, but the conviction that too much is being given. Many Swiss are also optimistic that Brussels will address the Berne Plan B, called the “bilateral route” by which existing agreements can be transferred individually.
“People think that Switzerland was too weak for the EU. “But there are probably too many expectations for alternatives,” Golder said.
Fighting the framework agreement, Erzinger said the EU would eventually return to the negotiating table. At the same time, Switzerland would have to endure “a period of freezing when you feel the cold of Brussels,” he said. But unlike Brexit, it will be able to rely on “existing treaties that allow us to breathe and not panic.”
Diplomats warn that such optimism is misplaced. The EU’s common goal in seeking a “framework agreement” with Switzerland was to restrain the country to the best of its ability or to make concessions to uphold them.
Some potential agreements are already facing imminent collapse as the guillotine provisions take effect. As a sign of how serious it could be, the Swiss Federal Council said in a statement on Thursday that it had already begun taking precautions, such as stockpiling medical equipment.
Avenir Suisse, Pro-EU think tank in Jurich, counted that canceling Switzerland և EU agreements on medical equipment, industrial machinery և chemicals և pharmaceuticals would cut 7 1.7 billion (1, 1.9 billion) և տարեկան 1.3 billion a year in costs for Swiss companies in those sectors alone :
Avenir Suisse researcher Theresa Hug Alonso says the consensus-based federal council has failed to present to the Swiss people the possible flaws in the previous clause in the framework agreement.
He ended the talks out of partisanship rather than a lack of public support. Recent polls suggest, however, that the referendum on a framework agreement would have been supported by 60 percent.
The SVP is the only openly anti-EU political party, but the others are at best ambiguous about Europe. The Social Democrats, for example, were adamantly opposed to measures that would undermine the protection of Swiss workers’ salaries, and the issue became a red line.
Switzerland now faces the prospect of a gradual degradation of its economic ties with the EU. But it would not be a disaster for one of the richest countries in the world, admitted Ger Alonso.
“We are not talking about mass change. It is erosion. That’s a problem. “It does not give impetus to new negotiations with the EU in Switzerland.”
Additional report by Domitil Allen in Paris
This article has been modified to correct the date of the result of the 2016 UK referendum