Cabinet outlines mandate for EU negotiations

Mario Gattiker is to lead the Swiss negotiating team with EU Keystone

This content was published on October 8, 2014 - 12:32
Urs Geiser,

The government has put forward a formal proposal to begin negotiations with the European Union on adapting the free movement of people accord following February’s nationwide vote curbing immigration.

The aim of the talks is to re-introduce immigration quotas while respecting the needs of the Swiss economy and to maintain a set of bilateral treaties with Brussels, according to a joint statement by the justice, foreign and economics ministries.

It is in line with a government decision issued in June.

The Swiss negotiating team is to be led by Mario Gattiker of the Federal Migration Office assisted by Henri Gétaz of the Directorate for European Affairs, a unit of the foreign ministry.

The draft mandate will now be sent to the parliamentary foreign policy committees, the country’s 26 cantons, as well as the business community and trade unions for consultation.

Brussels: No

In July, the EU said the principle of the free movement of people was not negotiable. The EU Commission rejected any talks on re-introducing immigration quotas.

This position was reiterated by a spokeswoman in Brussels on Wednesday. 

The government has until 2017 to implement a voter decision to curb immigration. The accord on the free movement of people, which came into force in 2002 is directly linked to a package of other bilateral treaties on trade, transport and research.

The 28-nation EU is Switzerland's main trading partner.

Articles in this story

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Sort by

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Discover our weekly must-reads for free!

Sign up to get our top stories straight into your mailbox.

The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.