Thursday

30th Mar 2017

Swiss vote jeopardises involvement in multi-billion EU programmes

  • The Cern nuclear research centre in Switzerland: Calls under the Horizon 2020 opened in December (Photo: Ars Electronica)

The EU’s multi-billion research programme Horizon 2020 and its Erasmus student exchange with Switzerland hang in the balance following a Swiss vote over the weekend in favour imposing quotas on EU migrants.

The two would automatically be suspended should Switzerland move to include limits on EU’s newest member state, Croatia. Both agreements are conditioned on free movement.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Croatia is scheduled to sign off on a reciprocal free movement agreement with Switzerland on 1 July. All other member states have a similar agreement.

“Croatia needs to be added and the direct link, which has been made, is to the current negotiations on research and on Erasmus,” a EU source told reporters in Brussels on Monday (10 February).

“This [Croatia] was meant to be relative technicality, I fear that this may now pose problems on the Swiss side […] we understand that they may now not feel they will be able to proceed with this legislation,” added the source.

All EU nationals need special permits to work in Switzerland.

The permit restrictions is set to be lifted for 25 member states at the end of May but may continue until May 2019 for nationals of Romania and Bulgaria.

Meanwhile, Swiss authorities are negotiating the next EU student funding programme over the 2014-2020 period.

Over 2,700 Swiss students benefited from the programme between 2011 and 2012. Another 3,150 are set to benefit for the 2014-2014 academic year.

Possible implications for EU research funding are also far-reaching.

Calls under the Horizon 2020 research programme, which runs from 2014 to 2020, opened in December.

At least three EU member states or associated countries, like Switzerland, are needed to form a consortium partnership in order to be eligible for the research grants.

Blocked negotiations on Horizon 2020 means Swiss researchers and companies, which tendered for calls in December with other member states, would no longer be valid.

Swiss involvement under the EU’s previous seven-year research funding programme, FP7 (framework research programme 7), is extensive.

They participated in around 3,000 EU-funded research projects and are on track to receive some €1.8 billion in funding. Around €500 million have gone to more than 300 European Research Council grant holders.

Negotiations on the association of Switzerland to Horizon 2020 are ongoing, with the next round of talks originally scheduled to take place this week, now postponed.

An EU source told this website that on the basis of past performance the Swiss research community would be set, under normal circumstances, for even more funding.

“First, however, we need to get an agreement, including on the budget contribution, and the Commission has been clear about the conditions linked to free movement,” noted the source.

Switzerland, for its part, contributed around €1.6 billion to the EU and Euratom budgets.

Meanwhile, the EU is moving ahead with a separate so-called institutional framework pact with Switzerland. Both are bound by more than hundred bilateral agreements.

The framework is supposed to clarify outstanding institutional issues like dispute-settlement mechanisms.

Insiders say the EU legislative machine and deal-making with Switzerland will continue on the institutional framework as normal until the Swiss government puts forward its anti-EU migrant bill.

Switzerland is the EU’s third largest trading partner

Over a million EU citizens live in Switzerland and another 230,000 cross the border daily for work. About 430,000 Swiss live in the EU.

EU warns Switzerland after anti-migrant vote

Swiss voters have backed a call to cap migration from EU countries - a move which could trigger the exclusion of the Alpine country from the EU internal market.

Swiss result sharpens EU immigration debate

As EU governments consider how to react to the Swiss referendum, opponents of immigration inside the Union claim the result represents widespread feeling in Europe.

Interview

Französische und deutsche Wahlen 'entscheidend' für Putin

Die Schwächung der EU durch Einflussnahme auf die französischen und deutschen Wahlen wird in diesem Jahr an erste Stelle der russischen Außenpolitik stehen, warnt der russische Oppositionsführer Mikhail Kassjanow.

EU trying to salvage US deal on data privacy

Privacy safeguards for EU citizens' personal data that is sent to the United States remains exposed to abuse, due to the lack of oversight and the shift towards increased surveillance under president Trump.

News in Brief

  1. UK publishes 'Great Repeal Bill' plan to replace EU laws
  2. Scots share May's vision for Brexit deal, survey says
  3. Coalition talks leader expects Dutch government by summer
  4. EU commission allows ex-member Hill to join law firm
  5. Reuters: Greece and lenders move closer to deal
  6. Italy: Le Pen win would mean 'permanent political risk'
  7. Danish parliament misinformed on Nord Stream 1
  8. UK delivered its Article 50 letter to the EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The Idealist QuarterlyCan Progressive Stories Survive Our Post-Truth Era? After-Work Discussion on 6 April
  2. ACCAG20 Citizens Want 'Big Picture' Tax Policymaking, According to Global Survey
  3. Belgrade Security ForumCall for Papers: European Union as a Global Crisis Manager - Deadline 30 April
  4. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  5. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  6. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  7. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  8. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  9. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  10. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  12. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans