On Wednesday, 4 May 2022, Council of States member Benedikt Würth (The Centre, SG) attended a meeting of the European Parliament delegation responsible for Switzerland in Strasbourg as President of the EFTA/EU Delegation of the Federal Assembly. The visit took place on the invitation of the Chair of the DEEA Delegation, MEP Andreas Schwab. The talks focused on the state of relations between Switzerland and the European Union (EU) and measures concerning the war in Ukraine.

The EFTA/EU Delegation of the Federal Assembly is responsible, among other things, for maintaining relations with the European Parliament and regularly exchanges views with the European Parliament’s DEEA Delegation, which is responsible for relations with Switzerland. Council of States member and President of the EFTA/EU Delegation, Benedikt Würth, visited Strasbourg on 4 May at the invitation of the Chair of the DEEA Delegation, MEP Andreas Schwab, and shared his assessment of the state of relations between Switzerland and the EU with members of the European Parliament.

The discussions focused on the Federal Council’s decision at the end of February to address the pending issues concerning overall Swiss-EU relations on the basis of a broad package of measures. This includes the pending institutional issues, which are to be regulated in the individual internal market agreements using a sectoral approach. Mr Würth stressed to the DEEA Delegation that Switzerland wishes to stabilise and further develop the proven bilateral path with the EU in order to maintain the good and mutually beneficial relations. He said the proposal of the Federal Council should be seen as a clear commitment that Switzerland is willing to resolve the outstanding issues. Furthermore, he said he hoped that this step would have a positive impact on overall relations and in particular on Switzerland’s future association to the EU’s research programme Horizon Europe.

A further topic of discussion was the cooperation between the EU and Switzerland with regard to the war in Ukraine. Mr Würth emphasised that Switzerland, as a neutral country, is committed to working alongside the EU for stability, security and shared prosperity in Europe and throughout the world. The adoption of EU sanctions in the context of the war in Ukraine is the latest example of this, he said.

Representatives from the two parliaments will meet to exchange views at the 41st Switzerland-EU inter-parliamentary meeting on 6 and 7 October in Bern.