The members of the EFTA/EU Delegation will meet Greg Hands, Minister of State in the Department for International Trade, to discuss the timeframe, procedure and content of the ongoing Brexit negotiations.These and other issues will also be addressed from a parliamentary perspective in meetings with Jonathan Djanogly MP, member of the Exiting the EU Select Committee of the House of Commons, and Andrew Rosindell MP, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
In meetings with MPs Vicky Ford, who was Chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee of the European Parliament between 2014-2017, and Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Exiting the European Union and International Trade, the members of the EFTA/EU delegation will have the opportunity to discuss from a party-political perspective the work facing the UK parliament in the coming years in the context of Brexit. The British government intends to present a series of bills to the British parliament to meet the legal requirements for Britain leaving the EU.
Delegation members will also discuss the future relationship between Switzerland and the UK following Brexit with Angus Brendan MacNeil, chair of the International Trade Committee. Relations between Switzerland and the UK are currently based primarily on Switzerland's bilateral agreements with the EU. These agreements will no longer apply to relations between Switzerland and the UK once the UK has left the EU.
The programme also includes meetings with a number of different think tanks: the Institute of Government, Chatham House, Centre for European Reform and Open Europe, and meetings with a number of Swiss businesses operating in the service industry.
Switzerland and the UK are important trading partners, and there are strong links between their economies. In 2016, the UK was the third biggest export market for Swiss goods and the fourth biggest source market for goods imported into Switzerland. Swiss businesses employ about 93,000 people in the UK (5th place). Direct British investment has created around 26,700 jobs in Switzerland (4th place). In view of the UK's intention to leave the EU, the members of the EFTA/EU Delegation are particularly keen to establish the nature of future bilateral relations with the UK.
The EFTA/EU Delegation is represented on this bilateral working visit by its president, Thomas Aeschi (National Council, SVP/ZG), its vice president, Karin Keller-Sutter (Council of States, FDP/SG), Kathy Riklin (National Council, CVP/ZH), Jean-François Rime (National Council, SVP/FR), Didier Berberat (Council of States, SP/NE) and Konrad Graber (Council of States, CVP/LU).