Swiss media and politicians see Brexit link in EU stock exchange snub

EC President Jean-Claude Juncker has ruffled Swiss feathers with his hard ball approach Keystone

The European Union’s decision to restrict Swiss stock exchange access to the EU market for a year has sparked numerous comments linking the controversial move to Brexit.

This content was published on December 22, 2017 minutes

It appears to be no coincidence that Britain, currently mired in a difficult divorce settlement with the EU, was this week the only member state to reject the annual limitation of financial equivalence for the Swiss Börse, or stock exchange. There is a growing feeling that the EU is playing hardball with Switzerland to avoid having to make concessions with Britain.

+ More on the EU stock exchange decision

“What Switzerland can obtain today from the EU, Britain will be tempted to ask tomorrow. This is increasingly disturbing for Brussels,” remarked the Swiss newspaper Le Temps.

Swiss politicians are crying foul at such tactics. “[The EU] currently has an open flank with Great Britain. Issues such as stock market equivalence will play a role in future relations with the UK. The EU does not want to make concessions to Switzerland faster than the UK,” Gerhard Pfister, leader of the centre-right Christian Democratic Party, told the Tages-Anzeiger.

+ How the Swiss government reacted

The EU has officially justified its stance by pointing out that negotiations on the future of the bilateral relationship with Switzerland have become bogged down. The Neue Zürcher Zeitung, however, does not buy this explanation.

“Officially, the EU does not establish a link between Brexit and Switzerland. In a confidential conversation, however, EU officials admitted that when deciding on bilateral dossiers, the consequences for negotiations with London must always be taken into account,” the newspaper reported.

The Tribune de Genève questions the EU’s justification in treating the Swiss stock exchange any differently than those in Australia, Hong Kong and the United States. Brexit has simply soured the EU’s appetite for “third way” deals with other states – those that want one foot in the EU and other one planted firmly outside, the newspaper states. 

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