Swiss public open to closer ties with EU, survey says

Flagging: Efforts to break the diplomatic deadlock between Switzerland and the EU have come to nothing Keystone / Martin Ruetschi

The Swiss are more open than expected to aligning themselves closer with the European Union via measures that go beyond the current bilateral agreements – provided they are accompanied by safeguards, according to a study.

This content was published on September 29, 2022 - 14:36

Even an updated agreement on free movement would have a chance, said the survey of 4,349 people throughout Switzerland conducted by the University of St Gallen in spring.

The results, published on Thursday, revealed that the Swiss consider job protection to be of central importance in a possible agreement with the EU.

Respondents were more willing to compromise regarding wage protection. If they were clearly informed about the issues at stake, the Swiss would be willing to go further than the red line they had set for themselves until now, reckoned the study’s leader, political scientist Tina Freyburg.

What’s more, it turns out that respondents thought “pragmatic and proportionate accompanying measures” would not be incompatible with EU regulations. Freyburg believed that a draft agreement would stand a chance if it were presented to the Swiss people.

In 2021 Switzerland unilaterally broke off negotiationsExternal link on a framework deal to replace the more than 120 bilateral accords which have regulated relations for the past decades. That led to a souring of relations between Bern and Brussels. Efforts to break the diplomatic deadlock have come to nothing.

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