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Swiss-EU trade deal collapses ...

(46 Posts)
Urmstongran Wed 26-May-21 21:35:50

Switzerland said "no deal" to Brussels’ freedom of movement demands and pulled out of seven years of tortured trade negotiations with the European Union on Wednesday.

Bern pulled the plug after years of difficult talks over Single Market access that are reminiscent of the European Commission’s Brexit negotiations with the UK over the past four years.

Shades of Brexit negotiations as Swiss government rejects European Union overtures following seven years of diplomatic wrangling.

Seems Democracy is still alive in Switzerland.

The Swiss are no fools and have emphatically rejected an EU trade deal with Brussels' rules and regulations, the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and free benefits to workers from the EU.

Typically, the EU has immediately threatened reprisals.

Katie59 Fri 28-May-21 11:57:04

The problem is that there was a referendum ( they have lots) in Switzerland about freedom of movement, the vote was NO, the government has been trying to get round the issue for several years. Just like us the Swiss will now have to live with more day to day inconvenience, there were already customs borders for goods and VAT was separate, so any changes are not as great for them. More hassle for companies, tighter border controls, thats what they voted for.
I’m surprised electricity is an issue, we import power from the EU and I havn’t heard of any problems, although prices have gone up.

Urmstongran Fri 28-May-21 10:45:49

Fair point.
I will try harder. It was often on my school reports too.
Strange that.

Alegrias1 Fri 28-May-21 10:38:42

But the tone of the piece and the interpretation of the facts depend on who has written it and what part of the press it hails from. The whole text is a quotation and reflects the writer's political outlook.

I wouldn't cut and paste whole sections of The National as though they were fact and not highlight that it was from an Independence supporting paper!

Urmstongran Fri 28-May-21 10:23:02

The quotes were attributed already to the people speaking?
Sorry otherwise.
I often remember but do sometimes forget (in my enthusiasm).

Alegrias1 Fri 28-May-21 10:13:31

Please, please UG, just tell us when its a quote from the Telegraph, then we can all decide if its credible or not.

Urmstongran Fri 28-May-21 10:05:07

Prof Carl Baudenbacher wrote in the Brussels Reporter that the European Commission has ratcheted up the pressure over the years as a ruthless negotiating tactic, practising “a policy of punishment that is difficult to reconcile with good faith”.

These include a “discriminatory refusal of stock exchange equivalence” since July 2019; threats to exclude it from the joint Horizon research programme: a refusal to update the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade and other accords; and even the exclusion of Switzerland from the EU system of Covid surveillance apps. All entail a degree of self-harm.

The view in Brussels is that Switzerland will be forced back to the table once the escalating cost of resistance becomes clearer. The working premise is that the failure is entirely Switzerland’s problem. The Swiss people can lump it, or leave it.

“The EU is always arrogant, inflexible, stroppy, and does not care about annoying neighbours, because for them there is no cost to it,” said Charles Grant from the Centre for European Reform. The Swiss are doubly vulnerable because they do not bring security and defence chips to the diplomatic table.

But the result of this coercion policy over the years is that Swiss popular support for EU membership has collapsed to 10pc from around 50pc in the early 1990s. It has nurtured a simmering national resentment.

“The EU never learns. It keeps overloading its demands and trying to advance its judicial machine but this can never be a basis for a sustainable relationship. It keeps backfiring,” said Pieter Cleppe, former head of Open Europe in Brussels.

Seems the EU has overreached again!

Ellianne Fri 28-May-21 09:39:12

Several Leave votes were based on the retirement age in said country when it joined the EU. Wasn't it in their 50s? Different rules for different countries never goes down well. Added to that their precarious financial position.

lemongrove Fri 28-May-21 09:34:09


This article is very interesting.
Seems you’re not far out after all lemongrove!

Thanks Urms smile I knew it was about financial problems with Greece, but couldn't remember the details.
I also do remember though, at the time that Greece was hoovered up by the EU ( I think of them as like the Borg) various experts saying that Greece shouldn’t be joining the EU
because financially they weren’t in a good enough place.

JenniferEccles Fri 28-May-21 08:24:23

I don’t remember reading any predictions that the EU would collapse years ago but a lot of people have a feeling that gradually countries may start to wonder if membership is beneficial to them or not.

Presumably the ball would start rolling with certain political parties sensing the mood of their country and offering an in/out referendum if voted into government.

Many will be watching us closely to see if we sink or swim.

Urmstongran Fri 28-May-21 08:02:17

This article is very interesting.
Seems you’re not far out after all lemongrove!

MawBe Fri 28-May-21 07:56:02


Had Brexit not happened, Switzerland would probably have been able to bend the rules a bit - but Brexit makes that totally impossible as the EU, quite rightly so, says, same rules for everyone. Quite simple, really.

Indeed Kali2.
As recognised in today’s DT
It wasn’t that the Swiss disapproved of Brexit; rather it was that Britain’s act of defiance brought an unwelcome degree of focus on its own, faintly privileged, economic arrangements with the EU. These have long been regarded by Brussels as outdated and therefore ripe for absorption into the regimented whole. Prior to Brexit, Switzerland had managed to slip through under the radar; the apparent anomaly was too small

MaizieD Fri 28-May-21 07:52:13


Greece didn’t meet the financial requirements to become an EU member, as I remember it, but it was a long time ago so maybe wrong on that.


You're correct. Absolutely wrong, lemon.

I do hope that your Leave vote wasn't based on a load of similar erroneous beliefs...

vegansrock Fri 28-May-21 06:58:45

I can cope with rudeness- though I’m not sure that pointing out a few facts which challenge the OP is considered worthy of comment.

vegansrock Fri 28-May-21 06:54:51

Switzerland has referenda on just about everything - even whether cows should have bells on .

Chewbacca Thu 27-May-21 23:57:52

It's a shame that jura/granjura/biba is no longer posting on this forum as she lived in Switzerland I believe, and she'd have been able to give us more insight on the situation as a resident. sad

Lucca Thu 27-May-21 22:03:40


You’ve touched a few raw nerves today, Urmstongran!

Did you remember to check with Vegansrock before expressing your opinion?

Hmm. A bit rude in my opinion,

Urmstongran Thu 27-May-21 21:57:18


Kamiso Thu 27-May-21 21:32:47

You’ve touched a few raw nerves today, Urmstongran!

Did you remember to check with Vegansrock before expressing your opinion?

vegansrock Thu 27-May-21 21:13:05

Seems some love to bash the EU for whatever reason even when it has no consequence for the U.K. The predictions that member states were all deeply envious of the U.K. and it was all about to collapse in a heap 4 years ago hasn’t happened. Switzerland has never been an EU member, makes most of its money from financial dealings, is relatively very small and wealthy, not comparable with the U.K. which seemingly is scouring around for cheap trade deals with anywhere.

Alegrias1 Thu 27-May-21 21:00:27

Interesting post Urmstongran. Its usual to specify sources when quoting big chunks of other peoples articles verbatim.

MerylStreep Thu 27-May-21 20:44:19

Very good post 😄
It must be galling for Swiss inhabitants who believe in free movement 😱
Still, it will give them something to rant about.

Callistemon Thu 27-May-21 20:39:50


Watch this space, next will be a trade deal between Switzerland and the UK. Cuckoo clocks, Toblerone, very good watches and Gruyere cheese will be cheap and plentiful.

Toblerone and Gruyere cheese - Yes!!

Urmstongran Thu 27-May-21 19:51:53

Interesting post Urmstongran
Why can trade deals not be just that - trade between countries - without all the other conditions being imposed?

There is no bullying - to be a member of the EU, or to have a special reciprocal agreement, you can't cherry pick. Switzerland has had to accept Free Movement to have such special agreement- and now they want to stop this. It has natural consequences and puts the agreement at risk.

But why? Why?
EU bullying?

This will be interesting to observe.

Urmstongran Thu 27-May-21 19:51:53

It is sobering how the mask of benign benevolent meritocracy has immediately slipped the moment the UK left and it became clear our population had seen through it and were not about to be wooed back.

Whatever the EU may have been, or was imagined as being in the past, now it is rapidly going down a dark and dangerous path. 'Democracies' are seen in the same way as China viewed Hong Kong. Something to tolerate as long as it kept the population content with the illusion of controlling their destiny but quickly swept aside if those desires clashed with the unelected rulers plans and views.

It started with the EU, eight years ago, wanting to roll those 120 bilateral trade agreements into one. It was a reasonable ambition you might think - a tidying-up exercise, a rationalisation which would make the rules easier for everyone to understand.

But, needless to say, that wasn’t just what the EU had in mind.

It wanted to seize the opportunity to extend its free movement rules to Switzerland and more effectively to impose its regulations on the country. In future, Switzerland was to be forced into ‘dynamic alignment’ with EU regulations. In other words, the EU would lay down the rules that it expected Switzerland to follow, on environmental law, labour law and everything else.

Moreover, it expected Switzerland to bend to its social security rules, which, so the Swiss feared, would have meant EU citizens being able to settle in Switzerland and gain full access to its welfare system from day one.

Urmstongran Thu 27-May-21 19:43:11

The Swiss are not stupid. Well done to them for standing firm.

Thank you Gwyneth (says she, blushing!).

Spinnaker Thu 27-May-21 19:37:25


Watch this space, next will be a trade deal between Switzerland and the UK. Cuckoo clocks, Toblerone, very good watches and Gruyere cheese will be cheap and plentiful.

grin I hope so !