The European Parliament – a new political reality

The Federal Palace and the European Parliament
© FDFA, Presence Switzerland

 

 
 

The elections for the next European Parliament took place from 23 to 26 Mai 2019. The ninth legislative period starts on 2 July 2019 and lasts until 2024. Compared to the previous legislative period, 63 % of the 751 Members will be sitting for the first time in the European Parliament. At the same time, the political composition is fragmented: for the first time in the history of the European Parliament, Christian Democrats and Social Democrats will no longer be able to form a majority.  

The Treaty of Lisbon, in force since 1 December 2009, significantly strengthened the powers and responsibilities of the European Parliament, making it an essential part of the institutional and political landscape of Europe. Its increased influence also has an impact on relations with countries that are not members of the EU, including Switzerland.

Switzerland therefore monitors the work of the European Parliament, in particular the plenary sessions that take place in Brussels and Strasbourg. The Mission pays particular attention to the institutional dynamics of the EU and to its implications for the decision-making processes of the EU and its relations with non-EU states, in particular Switzerland. One of the main aims is to monitor developments in legislation that are relevant to Switzerland.

Delegation for relations with Switzerland

The European Parliament conducts dialogue with countries outside of the EU through delegations. One delegation is in charge of relations with Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and the European Economic Area. The Swiss Parliament also has a delegation that deals with relations with EFTA and the European Parliament. These two institutional bodies are responsible for official contact between the parliaments and hold regular meetings which take place alternately in Switzerland and Strasbourg/Brussels.

Cooperation with the European Parliament has developed extremely well in recent years, particularly through:

  • working group sessions;
  • meetings between the presidents of the Swiss and European Parliaments;
  • study visits of the respective parliamentary committees;
  • meetings and exchanges on topical issues and shared concerns.