February 18, 2019

Swiss Balzaretti could revive EU-Swiss accession talks

Ambassador Roberto Balzaretti – Picture by The European Union.

By Henri Estramant.

The Helvetian Federal Council has appointed Ambassador Dr Roberto Balzaretti as the new director of Switzerland’s Directorate for European Affairs (DEA).

With a PhD in constitutional law, and fluent in English, German, French and Italian; Balzaretti worked for years in the Directorate of International Law and acted as a legal adviser of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. He also previously served as Swiss Permanent Delegate to the EU. Now he holds the title of State Secretary in his new role.

A quarter of a century after first serving in Brussels, Balzaretti returns at a time when his task is far more complicated; to put Switzerland’s accession to the EU back on the table, and eventually find an agreement that could end with a referendum on Switzerland’s relationship with the bloc.

In light of the UK’s decision to leave the bloc, the EU has toughened its stance toward Switzerland and is less likely to give to the country the special treatment that Bern longs for without accession to the 28 members strong bloc.

The EU and Switzerland have been in talks for years about streamlining relations via a so-called institutional framework agreement.

Relations between the two entities are governed by a set of treaties, but the relationship is in crisis after the EU decided to grant the Swiss stock market equivalence for only one year in a move aimed at putting pressure on Bern to clinch an overall deal on its relations with the bloc.

For further information:

Swiss Directorate of European Affairs – State Secretary, Ambassador Roberto Balzarettihttps://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/fdfa/organisation-fdfa/directorates-divisions/dea.html

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