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Up to Switzerland to move on EU deal, Juncker says

The former European Commission president says it is up to Switzerland to make the next move to reach a framework deal with the European Union (EU).

“Now it’s Switzerland’s turn,” Jean-Claude Juncker stated in an interview with the weekly NZZ am Sonntag newspaper.

He expressed disappointment that the deal, which would replace a raft of bilateral accords between Switzerland and the EU, was not concluded during his mandate.

He noted that three issues remain particularly problematic for the Alpine nation: wage protection, state aid, and the extent to which EU immigrants can benefit from the Swiss social system.

The Swiss in September will vote on an initiative to restrict freedom of movement between the 27 EU countries and Switzerland.

Juncker made no recommendations in relation to the referendum but did take issue with Swiss discussions that frame EU citizens as immigrants.

“The EU is not an enemy country, and Switzerland is not at war with the EU. I always think to myself: with good will on both sides, an agreement should be possible,” he said. “And that is where the European Union is waiting for further Swiss steps.”