Bilateral relations between Switzerland and the EU face a new point of departure now that the Federal Council has broken off talks on the institutional agreement. The EU has stressed for some time that it will not consider concluding any new market access agreements with Switzerland until institutional issues have been clarified.
At their meeting, the members of the EFTA/EU Delegation of the Federal Assembly and the members of the European Parliament's DEEA Delegation, responsible for relations with Switzerland, plan to discuss how mutual market access can be consolidated despite the absence of an institutional agreement, and how to prevent barriers to market access.
The talks will also focus on cooperation in the areas of education, research and innovation. At the end of 2020, the Swiss Parliament approved a budget of CHF 6.15 billion for Switzerland’s participation in the Horizon Europe, Digital Europe, Euratom and ITER programmes (Horizon package). The Federal Council also adopted the negotiation mandates for Switzerland’s association to the Horizon package and Erasmus+ education programme for the period 2021–2027.
Development of the political dialogue
The meeting between the members of the two parliaments will also provide an opportunity for an exchange of views at parliamentary level on the medium-term future of the bilateral path between Switzerland and the EU. In this context, the meeting should also address how the political dialogue announced by the Swiss side could be developed in terms of specific content as soon as possible.
At the beginning of the talks on 11 June, representatives from the European Commission, as well as from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation will deliver statements.
The two delegation chairs, Eric Nussbaumer and Andreas Schwab, intend to adopt a joint declaration at the meeting on the state of bilateral relations. On the Swiss side, such a declaration requires the approval of a majority of the delegation. At an internal meeting held on 8 June, the EFTA/EU Delegation voted in favour of adopting the declaration by 6 votes to 4.
Note for journalists
There will be a press call after the meeting with the two delegation chairs (at around 12.15) on Friday, 11 June. The press call will also be held as a video conference. Those interested in taking part should contact Ms Lucienne Vaudan (email@example.com) before 3pm on Thursday, 10 June, who will then provide a link to take part in the virtual press call.