The EU and Switzerland face the same challenges of demographic growth and the pressures this creates on the environment. They take similar positions when it comes to finding global solutions in international conferences on sustainable development or the climate.
Motivated by a shared desire to better conserve the European continent’s natural resources, over the years the EU member states have built up a large body of environmental legislation. European framework legislation has been adopted with a view to improving air and water quality, promoting waste recycling, reducing CO2 emissions from motor vehicles and restricting the hunting of migratory birds, to name but four.
European Environment Agency in Copenhagen
Although in most cases Switzerland has its own standards for environmental protection, industry closely monitors the norms applicable to products in the EU. Moreover, it is in Switzerland’s interests to exchange comparable data on the state of the environment with its neighbours. This is what led Switzerland to sign an agreement with the EU in 2004 regulating its participation in the European Environment Agency. Based in Copenhagen, this agency collects and analyses data on the state of the environment in Europe.
With their very similar climate change objectives, Switzerland and the EU have also launched negotiations towards an agreement on linking their CO2 emissions trading systems (ETS).