Swiss should join EU within next decade: ex-commissioner

10th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Former European Union external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner appealed on Sunday for Switzerland to join the 27-member bloc within the next decade.

"I hope that Switzerland could become part of the EU within the next 10 years," Ferrero-Waldner, a former Austrian foreign minister, told the German language Sonntag newspaper. "I think it would be a good move."

Ferrero-Waldner said even if Switzerland did not join the EU, it should at least pin down a "framework accord" with the EU, whose countries completely surround the country.

EU officials have expressed frustration with Switzerland's quest to expand on separate agreements such as free movement of labour, education, border policing and transport, which give it similar economic advantages to member states without assuming the political commitment of membership and joint decision-making.

Fiercely independent Swiss voters have repeatedly rejected closer political ties and membership of the European Union, although the issue is highly divisive.

© 2010 AFP

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