How Brexit affects Switzerland
A dispute is brewing between the EU and Switzerland over the immigration controls the Swiss voted for in a referendum in February 2014. At stake is whether limits on immigration are compatible with the EU freedom of movement agreement. With Brexit negotiations looming the EU won't be willing to make any concessions, some commentators say. Others warn against making an example of Switzerland.
Brexit talks come at bad time for Bern
With Brexit negotiations between Brussels and London looming, Bern cannot expect the EU to show sympathy for its cause, the Irish Times observes:
“The British vote to leave the European Union could not have come at a worse time for the Swiss, who are struggling to salvage their relationship with the EU since a national vote to curb immigration put a crucial series of bilateral treaties in jeopardy. Now the Swiss are in the unenviable position of providing a test case for Brexit negotiations. Immigration controls are the major sticking point for both contrarian nations, and the European Commission has no intention of making any concessions to the Swiss that would encourage the British.”
Brussels should meet London and Bern halfway
If the EU refuses to make compromises with Britain and Switzerland, it will be shooting itself in the foot, the Financial Times warns:
“Immigration is not a uniquely British issue. Relations between Brussels and non-EU Switzerland are also about to be ruptured over Swiss reluctance to accept complete free movement of people. The current thinking in Paris, Brussels and Berlin seems to be that the only way to prevent the break-up of the EU is to make examples of Britain and Switzerland. But the EU is not ultimately going to hold itself together by administering punishment beatings to any European country that deviates from Brussels rules. Does the EU really want to launch a cold war against Switzerland and the UK - two of the oldest democracies and strongest economies in Europe?”