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Current Affairs

Switzerland rejects EU treaty

Date: 02 June 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous


Switzerland has refused to agree to years of negotiation to implement an agreement to improve its relations with the European Union.



The current relations between European Union and Switzerland are governed by a patchwork of more than 120 bilateral deals. The new deal would have provided overarching guidelines.



  • The main reason for the talks to fail was regarding the issues such as full access for EU citizens to the Swiss labour market, which could not be agreed upon.

  • Future ties between both the entities are expected to suffer due to lapsing or outdating of multiple existing agreements.


EU and Switzerland ties

  • Switzerland is surrounded by European Union countries and is the fourth largest trading partner of the bloc.

  • The largest trading destination of EU is Switzerland. About 3.5 lakh people from EU travel daily to Switzerland for working in its industries.

  • Switzerland has maintained open borders with EU and has access to its single market. The relationship rests on about 120 separate deals.


Need for framework agreement

  • Cooperation in health sector, labour market, education and research will all be affected if overarching agreement cannot be reached.

  • There was also fear that UK will cite the example of Switzerland for having access to single market without being an active member.


Reasons for failure

  • Switzerland was not in favour of giving EU citizens full access to its labour market as it would create shortage for its own citizens.

  • Political opponents of party in power have criticised the draft as a way of putting concerns on Switzerland’s sovereignty.

  • The government would also need a referendum if the new policy is to be implemented as well as agreement from its states.

  • The government has put in efforts to develop a migration policy acceptable to all sections and it did not want to upset the balance.