The Swiss government said on Wednesday that years of negotiations with the European Union on a comprehensive package of bilateral agreements had failed after the parties failed to reach an agreement on key issues, including the cross-border movement of job seekers.
This is reported by the AP.
Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis said the government had informed European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen of its decision to withdraw from the talks.
Cassis said that Switzerland hopes to remain a close partner of the EU, with which it has more than 100 bilateral agreements.
The negotiations mostly came up against the EU’s demand for full access to the Swiss labor market for its citizens, including those who are looking for work. Switzerland opposed such a move. Cassis said this could mean a “paradigm shift” that could lead to non-Swiss people becoming eligible for social security in the country.
The EU warned that failure to reach an agreement could damage numerous existing agreements, including cooperation in the areas of trade, education, and research.