Friday

22nd Nov 2019

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

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.

EPP congress pledges 'moderate' climate solution

The centre-right European People's Party (EPP) pledge at its Zagreb congress to deliver a middle-ground compromise between "utopian environmental policies" and climate-change denial.

EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans

An emergency resolution adopted at the European People's Party (EPP) congress in Zagreb calls on the EU Council and member states to take a positive decision on opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania as soon as possible.

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament votes on new commission next week
  2. Berlusconi wants Europe to be a military global power
  3. Orban ordered to apologise over 'misleading' Soros survey
  4. EPP to decide on expelling Fidesz by end of January
  5. Rowdy anti-corruption protest in Malta
  6. Ambassador: Trump ordered Ukraine election meddling
  7. EU links Libyan government to human trafficking
  8. Greek PM on migration: 'Greece has reached its limits'

Magazine

Welcome to the EU engine room

Welcome to the EU engine room: the European Parliament (EP's) 22 committees, which churn out hundreds of new laws and non-binding reports each year and which keep an eye on other European institutions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. EPP congress pledges 'moderate' climate solution
  2. EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans
  3. New EU financial instruments needed
  4. Binding measures to expand gender balance
  5. Watershed moment for rule of law in Hong Kong
  6. EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration
  7. New calls for Muscat to resign over journalist's murder
  8. Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us