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Minister sees possibility of new EU talks

Published on June 20, 2021

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis says he does not rule out further talks with the European Union at some point, after the government broke off negotiations on a framework deal.

This could come about through dialogue, but Switzerland would have to make clear from the outset what was possible and what was not, he said in an interview with the “SonntagsZeitung” newspaper. The preconditions must be much clearer than they were in the framework talks, otherwise Switzerland would risk reaching a deal with no political chance, Cassis told the paper.

Both sides are interested in continuing the cooperation, he stressed, for example in the fight against pandemics and on research.

The Swiss government announced at the end of May that it was breaking off talks on a controversial agreement meant to replace a string of bilateral deals with the EU. The government cited a lack of agreement on three key points hampering progress since a deal was drafted in 2018: salary protection, state aid rules, and the access of EU citizens to Swiss social security benefits.

The government’s decision to break off negotiations with the EU could be referred to a parliamentary Control Committee, reports the SonntagsBlick newspaper. Parliament’s foreign policy committee will decide this Friday on such a motion brought by Green MP Nicolas Walder. According to SonntagsBlick, Walder wants an inquiry into the circumstances of the government’s decision and whether it was constitutional. He says parliament should have had a say.

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