Diplomatic efforts fail to break Swiss-EU deadlock

Swiss State Secretary Livia Leu faioled to draw concessions from the European Commission. © Keystone / Laurent Gillieron

Switzerland is no closer to regaining full access to European Union science and education collaborative programmes, despite a further round of exploratory talks between the two sides on Friday.

This content was published on September 9, 2022 minutes

The EU first bannedExternal link, and later only partially re-admittedExternal link, Swiss participation in its flagship Horizon Europe projects after a souring of political relations.

Diplomats have been tasked with exploring potential options after intensive top level negotiations between ministers to find a way forwards broke down last yearExternal link.

A fourth exploratory round of talks ended with no concessions, Swiss State Secretary Livia Leu said on Friday.

“Unfortunately, I didn't see much movement today,” said Leu in Brussels. “The EU Commission continues to uphold its position as a means of exerting pressure.”

A fifth round of talks, this time exploring Switzerland’s future contributions to a fund aimed at reducing economic and social disparities between EU member states, will take place on October 12.

Switzerland has agreed to pay a further CHF1.3 billionExternal link ($1.3 billion) so-called ‘cohesion’ payment, but there is no long term plan for future contributions.

Experts from both sides will also tackle the subject of the free movement of people in the next few weeks, said Leu.

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