Switzerland–EU: Federal Council takes stock of current negotiations

Press releases, 26.06.2024

At its meeting on 26 June 2024, the Federal Council took stock of the negotiations with the EU and the internal implementation of the package which aims to stabilise and further develop the bilateral path. While tangible progress has been made in several areas, in others, such as immigration and wage protection, the positions of the two sides have not yet converged sufficiently. Meanwhile parallel discussions continue in Switzerland with interest groups on key sectors.

Hall in the Federal Palace West in front of the Federal Council chamber, where the Federal Council usually meets once a week.
The status of the negotiations with the EU was a topic of the Federal Council meeting on 26 June 2024. © FDFA

The Federal Council has noted tangible progress in several areas covered by the current negotiations with the EU. In other areas, notably immigration and wage protection, the delegations' positions have not yet converged sufficiently. The aim of the negotiations is to ensure Switzerland's security and prosperity by stabilising and developing the bilateral path. Given the tense geopolitical situation, good relations with EU member states in general and neighbouring states in particular are of paramount importance.

The negotiations cover a series of agreements aimed primarily at ensuring barrier-free access to the EU's internal market. For our export-based economy, this aspect is essential and contributes greatly to our own prosperity as well as that of the entire European continent. The negotiated package also includes Swiss participation in EU programmes in the fields of research, innovation, education and the management of threats to public health.

The Federal Council thus intends to stabilise and develop the bilateral path while safeguarding Switzerland's essential interests, including in the areas of wage protection and immigration.

Since the launch of negotiations with the European Commission on 18 March, over 70 negotiation meetings have been held, involving more than 20 federal offices and the Conference of Cantonal Governments.

Internal implementation of the package

Alongside the negotiations with the EU, the departments concerned are also engaged in internal discussions with the cantons, the social and economic partners and the relevant interest groups in the key areas of immigration, wage protection, electricity and land transport. These exchanges will continue in tandem with the negotiations. The Federal Council is satisfied with this collaboration and with the progress of the work, and thanks the cantons and other partners for the joint efforts.

The Federal Council has also begun work to transpose the various elements of the package into Swiss law. The departments concerned have identified the laws and ordinances that need to be amended and the areas in which accompanying measures by Switzerland will be required to mitigate any undesirable effects of an agreement with the EU.

On 8 March, the Federal Council also instructed the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP) to submit a legal analysis on the question of the referendum (mandatory or optional) to which the package would be subject in the event of a successful conclusion to the negotiations and approval by Parliament. The Federal Council has taken note of the legal overview and analysis “Das Staatsvertragsreferendum im Bundesverfassungsrecht" (The referendum for international treaties in federal constitutional law) by the Federal Office of Justice and instructed the FDJP to publish it.  As part of the dispatch on the negotiation package, the Federal Council will decide whether to propose to the Federal Assembly that the package be submitted to an optional, mandatory or sui generis mandatory referendum.

Next stages

The Federal Council has instructed the departments to continue work on foreign and domestic policy.

It has thus instructed the Federal Department of Finance to analyse the financial consequences of the package and to present a financial plan in collaboration with the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).

In order to ensure the implementation of the state aid provisions contained in the agreements on air transport, land transport and electricity, the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) will produce draft legislation on the supervision of state aid, which will then be put out to consultation.

The Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, for its part, is preparing a guideline on social norms (minimum wages) in international rail passenger transport, and will involve the social partners in drawing it up.

Lastly, the EAER and the FDFA are responsible for evaluating the economic consequences of the agreements negotiated, in collaboration with the relevant offices of the Federal Administration.

The Federal Council will be kept regularly informed of the progress of the dossier in terms of foreign and domestic policy, and will take stock again in the autumn of this year.

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