Every year the inter-parliamentary meeting between Switzerland and the EU brings together members of the EFTA/EU Delegation of the Swiss Federal Assembly and of the European Parliament’s DEEA Delegation. This year’s meeting is taking place on 6 and 7 October in Rapperswil-Jona and Zurich. The meeting will focus on relations between Switzerland and the EU in the light of the exploratory talks currently taking place between Bern and Brussels.

The inter-parliamentary meeting will provide an opportunity for exchanging views at parliamentary level on the current state of bilateral relations between Switzerland and the European Union (EU), and on the Federal Council’s new approach to negotiations on institutional issues. Co-chaired by Council of States member Benedikt Würth (The Centre, SG) and MEP Andreas Schwab (EPP, Germany), parliamentarians will discuss the controversial points in the presence of various experts from the Federal Administration and the European Commission.

As part of the parliamentary talks on 7 October, Livia Leu, State Secretary at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and Juraj Nociar, head of the cabinet of Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič, will assess the progress of the exploratory talks to date. In addition, Ambassador Peter Gasser, head of the Free Movement of Persons and Labour Relations division in the Labour Directorate of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO, and Stefan Olsson, deputy director-general of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, will comment on Switzerland’s accompanying measures and their compatibility with EU law on posted workers. On the question of a possible adoption of elements of the EU’s Citizens’ Rights Directive by Switzerland, parliamentarians will hear from Tobias Weibel, deputy head of the Free Movement of Persons section at the State Secretariat for Migration, and Monika Mosshammer, deputy head of the Union citizenship rights and free movement unit in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers.

At the inter-parliamentary meeting, the two delegation chairs will adopt a joint declaration on the current state of bilateral relations. In it, they will comment on possible solutions to the institutional issues, the controversial points regarding the free movement of persons and Switzerland’s association to the EU’s education and research programmes, which at present is blocked. The chairs will also express the expectation that contacts between the Federal Council and the European Commission will be intensified in order to reach the necessary clarification and assurances required for adopting a negotiation mandate. On the Swiss side, this joint statement requires the majority approval of its delegation; at an internal meeting on 22 September, the delegation voted unanimously in favour of adopting the declaration. Its text will be published during the 7 October meeting.

Following the inter-parliamentary meeting, members of both delegations will visit the ETH campus on Hönggerberg in Zurich and exchange views with ETH representatives and researchers on the impact of Switzerland’s non-association to Horizon Europe.

The Federal Assembly will be represented at the inter-parliamentary meeting by Delegation President Benedikt Würth (The Centre, SG), Vice-President Thomas Aeschi (SVP, ZG), National Council members Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter (The Centre, BL), Eric Nussbaumer (SP, BL), Hans-Peter Portmann (FDP.The Liberals, ZH) and Nicolas Walder (The Greens, GE), as well as Council of State members Hannes Germann (SVP, SH), Damian Müller (FDP.The Liberals, LU), Carlo Sommaruga (SP, GE) and Marco Chiesa (SVP, TI). On behalf of the European Parliament, MEPs Andreas Schwab (EPP, Germany), Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg (The Greens/EFA, Germany), Claudia Gamon (Renew Europe, Austria), Christophe Grudler (Renew Europe, France), Zdzisław Krasnodębski (ECR, Poland), Alessandro Panza (ID, Italy), Liudas Mažylis (EPP, Lithuania) and Lukas Mandl (EPP, Austria) will take part.