Brexit worked! Demand for urgent talks over Switzerland’s EU deal after UK’s exit

Brexit: Expert discusses 'success' for the UK government

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Piero Marchesi warned about the consequences of Swiss membership of the single market and insisted Brexit proved a new deal could be thrashed out with Brussels. Mr Marchesi, who sits on the Swiss National Council and is also Mayor of Monteggio, said the UK was in a better position than Switzerland since cutting ties with the EU last December.

The United Kingdom, as a former EU member, is now in a better situation than Switzerland

Piero Marchesi

He said: “Brexit shows that Switzerland can also retract the agreement with the EU.

“The Federal Council is asked to immediately open a new negotiation with Brussels so the freedom of movement agreement can be re-discussed with the aim of maintaining the bilateral agreements.

“The free trade agreement recently signed by the EU with the UK following Brexit covers not only the trade in goods and services but also a wide range of other sectors of European interest such as investments, competition, state aid, fiscal transparency, air and road transport, energy and sustainability, fisheries, data protection and social security coordination.

“It can therefore be said that the United Kingdom, as a former EU member, is now in a better situation than Switzerland.”

Mr Marchesi said Switzerland regulated its relations with the EU through bilateral agreements but never restored the management of immigration voted for by citizens in 2014 with the approval of the popular “Stop Mass Immigration” movement.

He said the freedom of movement agreement had caused many problems for Switzerland over the last 20 years and was now due for renegotiation.

He said: “The excessive increase in immigration – one million new immigrants from the EU in 13 years – the explosion of social costs to the benefit of immigrants, the excessive use of land, the creation of a significant need for new infrastructure and – the most important – the replacement of Swiss and already resident labour with new immigrants.”

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He continued: “The recent agreement signed by the United Kingdom with Brussels shows that the EU is open to different solutions from those now regulated with Switzerland through bilateral agreements.

“The EU with the United Kingdom has created an important precedent that Switzerland should exploit to maintain good trade relations with the European Union, but also to resolve, or at least mitigate, the inconveniences created by the free movement agreement and from uncontrolled immigration.”

Mr Marchesi’s calls for freedom of movement to be re-examined come amid growing disenchantment with the country’s EU relationship.

FDP politician Thierry Burkart said the institutional agreement between Switzerland and the EU was curtailing Switzerland’s sovereignty.

The Swiss government has engaged in negotiations with the EU on wage and worker protection, state aid, and the EU Citizens’ Rights Directive.

Opponents of the agreement are concerned about the influence of the European Court of Justice in the current negotiations.

Swiss president of the Christian Democrats Party, Gerhard Pfister, said the nation’s Federal Council were not wanting to admit there was a problem in the negotiations with the EU.

He said that it was a problem over “sovereignty”.

Swiss trade unions fear that the jurisprudence by the European Court of Justice poses a threat to Swiss wage protection.

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Other Swiss organisations do not stand united in support of the current Institutional Agreement between the EU and Switzerland.

Both the corporate union Economiesuisse and Switzerland’s Free Democratic Party disagree with the role of the European Court of Justice in the agreement.

Critics of the deal with the EU are concerned about having to deal with “foreign judges” in relation to the European Court of Justice.

After the UK managed to broker a deal with the EU that meant the European Court of Justice will not act as a court of arbitration, some Swiss politicians are calling for Switzerland to get the same deal.

(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)

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