Swiss media see no real winner in Brexit deal

Prime minister Boris Johnson has hailed the deal as a victory for Britain. Keystone/Paul Grover

A day after Britain and the European Union announced a narrow trade deal, Swiss media remain sceptical about its impact.

This content was published on December 25, 2020 - 12:40

The accord will preserve Britain's zero-tariff and zero-quota access to the bloc's single market of 450 million consumers but will not prevent economic pain and disruption for the UK or for EU member states.

Experts say many aspects of Britain's future relationship with the EU remain to be hammered out, possibly over years.

The deal, agreed on Thursday more than four years after Britain voted by a slim margin to leave the bloc, offers a way out of a chaotic finale to a divorce that has shaken the 70-year project to forge European unity from the ruins of World War Two.

The Tamedia online platforms, including the Tages-Anzeiger, Der Bund, Berner Zeitung and Basler Zeitung, say the agreement is good news for the end of the year. “It is a victory of reason, a deal against chaos. (….) But the price tag for the divorce is not known yet.”

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The CH-Media group of newspapers, including the Luzerner Zeitung, the St Galler Tagblatt and the Aargauer Zeitung from across German-language Switzerland, is more pessimistic, saying the deal is not the end of Brexit but the beginning.

“Britain will be in constant negotiations with the EU over the next years and probably decades. Just like Switzerland has done in the past years and decades, the UK will try to wring a series of sectoral accords from the EU to complement the free trade deal.”

The editorial is the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper is blunt in its analysis.

“Don’t be fooled: There are no winners with this deal.” It goes on to day that the conclusion of a trade deal is the best news for Britain and the path leading there was ”unnecessarily hard and the impact will be unnecessarily small”.

Still, the editorialist is sure that the deal is worth “every single bit” as “it’s a victory of reason on both sides.”

For its part, the German-language public broadcaster SRF online site concludes the Brexit accord is a “short term political victory” for the British government and a “huge ideological loss”.

“There is a high price to pay. It will work out temporarily for both sides. In the long run, the partnership between the UK and the EU will have to be stronger again. The common interests are significant.”

Switzerland, which is not a member of the 27-nation bloc, has signed a series of agreements with Britain as part of a strategy to maintain smooth ties after the implementation of Brexit.

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