Brussels (Brussels Morning) The European Commission urged Switzerland on Monday to align with the bloc’s single market rules.
Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the EC for Interinstitutional Relations, asserted that the bloc is open to cooperation, but stressed that “it takes two to tango”, Reuters reported.
He also noted the need to set a timetable for resolving Switzerland’s position in the EU market by January next year.
For the past ten years or so, the EC has been pursuing a deal to supersede the bilateral agreements with Switzerland according to which the country would have to routinely adopt changes to align its regulations with single market rules.
The EC maintains that the proposed deal would provide an effective framework for resolving disputes. However, Switzerland broke off talks with the bloc in May.
Terms of the deal
According to the deal, Switzerland would have to make regular contributions to EU funds for poorer bloc members and agree to a level playing field, routine alignment with EU laws and a framework for settling disputes, among other issues.
Having met with the Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ignacio Cassis, on Monday, Šefčovič said “what we now need from Switzerland is the unambiguous political will to engage with us on the real issues that count and a credible timetable”. He insisted that any political dialogue would have to be “focused and substantial.”
Šefčovič stated that he and Cassis would meet in Davos in January to assess progress, by which time “we will see whether a true political commitment is there.”
Because of disagreements with Switzerland, the EU has limited the country’s participation in the Horizon Europe scientific research initiative, which has a proposed budget of 95 billion euro.
Šefčovič indicated that Swiss scientists can continue to participate in the initiative, but stressed that their access to EU funds will be restricted until other issues are resolved.