Switzerland and the EU: Lessons for a Post-Brexit UK?

Author (Person)
Series Title
Series Details 20.04.18
Publication Date 20/04/2018
Content Type

Recording of a meeting held at Chatham House Switzerland and the EU: Lessons for a Post-Brexit UK? held on the 20 April 2018. The contributors were:

+ Micheline Calmy-Rey, President, Switzerland (2007 and 2011); Minister Foreign Affairs, Switzerland (2003–11)

+ Professor Michael Ambühl, State Secretary and Head, Directorate of Political Affairs Federal Department ETH Zurich (2005-13); Professor, ETHZ Zurich

+ Rudolf Dietrich, Director General, Swiss Customs Office (1994-2015)

Chair: Professor Richard Whitman, Associate Fellow, Europe Programme, Chatham House

Further information

Since 1992, following Switzerland’s decision not to join the European Economic Area (EEA), Swiss-EU relations had been developing through bilateral agreements adopted by both parties.

There are now around 140 such bilateral agreements and mechanisms and this had created a specific and fragmented legal framework rather than negotiating under a robust legislative structure.

It is this ‘living agreement’, between the EU and Switzerland, which the ‘Leave’ campaign in the 2016 Brexit referendum often cited as a viable and desirable option for the UK, as opposed to an ‘off the shelf’ framework for any future relationship.

This Chatham House event focused on existing convergences between EU-UK and EU-Switzerland negotiations. Focusing on the role of the European Court of Justice, customs arrangements and the free movement of persons, the panellists, all of whom were involved in negotiating Switzerland’s relationship with the EU following the 1992 referendum, discussed the lessons they learned that may guide the UK government during the second stage of Brexit negotiations.

How could the UK best balance retaining national sovereignty and gaining access to the EU domestic market? And even if the UK did wish to pursue a ‘Swiss model’, would such a model now be impossible to emulate particularly as the EU has made it clear that it would no longer negotiate with countries without a legislative framework?

Source Link https://www.chathamhouse.org/file/switzerland-and-eu-lessons-post-brexit-uk
Related Links
Institute for Public Policy Research: Briefing, July 2016: One step removed? Six possible futures for the UK's economic relationship with the EU http://www.europeansources.info/record/one-step-removed-six-possible-futures-for-the-uks-economic-relationship-with-the-eu/
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union http://www.europeansources.info/record/brexit-the-united-kingdom-and-the-european-union/
Open Europe: Blog, 21.09.16: Would a Swiss-EU compromise on free movement appeal to Britain? http://openeurope.org.uk/today/blog/swiss-eu-compromise-free-movement/
The Independent, 09.09.16: Switzerland offers UK Brexit solution to prevent EU 'explosion' over free movement http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/switzerland-uk-brexit-solution-trade-deal-free-movement-micheline-calmy-rey-a7234906.html
The Wall Street Journal, 24.06.16: After ‘Brexit’: Can the U.K. Become More Like Switzerland? http://www.wsj.com/articles/after-brexit-can-the-u-k-become-more-like-switzerland-1466774144
CAPX, 23.05.18: Switzerland offers some valuable lessons for Brexit https://capx.co/switzerland-offers-some-valuable-brexit-lessons-for-the-uk/
ESO: Find further information on this topic http://www.europeansources.info/advSearchLink?keyword=Brexit%20after%20switzerland%20&searchOption=all
Egmont Institute: European Policy Briefs, No.44 (June 2016): Plan B after Brexit – What Britain can expect negotiating a Swiss-type arrangement with the EU http://www.europeansources.info/record/plan-b-after-brexit-what-britain-can-expect-negotiating-a-swiss-type-arrangement-with-the-eu/
Council of the European Union: Press Release, 28.02.17: Council conclusions on EU relations with the Swiss Confederation http://www.europeansources.info/record/council-conclusions-on-eu-relations-with-the-swiss-confederation/
Switzerland: Swiss Confederation: Federal Council: Switzerland's European Policy: Negotiations and Open Issues: Switzerland–UK relations post Brexit https://www.eda.admin.ch/dea/en/home/verhandlungen-offene-themen/offene-themen/brexit.html
Switzerland: Swiss Confederation: Federal Council: Switzerland's European Policy: Negotiations and Open Issues: Institutional issues https://www.eda.admin.ch/dea/en/home/verhandlungen-offene-themen/verhandlungen/institutionelle-fragen.html
Swissinfo.ch, 29.03.18: Would the Swiss model suit a post-Brexit Britain? https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/politics/eu-negotiations_would-the-swiss-model-suit-a-post-brexit-britain/42128110
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