This week’s draft trade agreement between the EU and the UK is “good news for the whole world,” Switzerland’s incoming President and Economic Affairs Minister, Guy Parmelin, said on Sunday in Sonntags Zeitung newspaper.
“It is good news for the whole world that an agreement has been reached. For Switzerland too,” Parmelin, who takes over the presidency of the country on 1 January, said in the first official Swiss reaction to the accord.
However, he did not comment on what the deal could mean for current negotiations between Switzerland and the EU. “We are now waiting for the text and will analyse the whole situation,” he said.
Experts feel Switzerland’s government is under pressure to negotiate a better deal with the EU to cushion the economic effect of the British withdrawal from the Union, the newspaper commented.
London and Brussels signed their post-Brexit agreement on Thursday, after 10 months of intense negotiations and just days before the 1st of January 2021, when the UK has to withdraw from the common market after pulling out of the Union on the 1st of January 2020.
Switzerland had refused to join the EU in 1992, but voted in 2000 in favour of bilateral agreements with the Union.
In 2008, Brussels decided that no new agreement would be possible without a framework agreement setting the modalities of mainly economic ties between Switzerland and the EU. Since then, the EU has not hidden its growing impatience to reach such an agreement.
Mr. Parmelin travelled to London just before Christmas to sign an accord with Britain to facilitate mutual access for service providers to both markets. This earned him a 14-day stay in quarantine.