Friday

26th Apr 2019

EU suspends Swiss talks on research and education

  • The Cern nuclear research centre in Switzerland. Tenders under the Horizon 2020 programme opened in December (Photo: oalsaker)

EU-Swiss talks on EU-funded research and education programmes have been suspended following Bern's refusal to sign a reciprocal work permit deal with Croatia.

“There was another round of negotiations due and we had said it wouldn’t take place until Switzerland had signed the protocol with Croatia,” European Commission spokesman Joe Hennon told this website on Monday (17 February).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Hennon says both the research programme Horizon 2020 and its Erasmus+ student exchange is conditioned on free movement.

The move to suspend talks follows a decision by Switzerland on Saturday to not allow in Croat workers. The move comes after its recent referendum decision to curb migration.

“The agreement with Croatia cannot be signed in the form that was agreed on due to the new constitutional provision provided by the February 9 vote," said Swiss government spokesman Philipp Schwander.

The referendum, passed by a narrow margin, asked Swiss lawmakers to put forward plans within the next three years to limit the number of foreigners who enter the land-locked country.

The Swiss government is set to outline over the summer how it intends to implement the reforms, which could affect over a million EU citizens who live in Switzerland and its 230,000 cross border daily commuters.

About 430,000 Swiss live in the EU.

Meanwhile, calls for tenders for the EU’s multi-billion Horizon2020 programme kicked off in December.

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

But with negotiations suspended on making Switzerland an associated country in Horizon2020, calls made in December involving Swiss researchers may be in jeopardy.

“We need to have an agreement in place or know what the situation is in terms of what Switzerland wants to do in potentially funding its own research,” said European commission spokesperson for research Michael Jennings.

Students are also likely to be affected.

Over 2,700 Swiss students benefited from the Erasmus programme between 2011 and 2012, with another 3,150 set to benefit in the next academic year.

The Swiss referendum, brokered by the rightwing populist Swiss People's Party (SVP), could trigger a wider so-called guillotine clause that would suspend other EU pacts.

The EU and Switzerland are bound by more than one hundred bilateral agreements.

The two signed a free trade agreement in 1972 followed by a pact in 1999 which covers the free movement of persons, technical trade barriers, public procurement, agriculture and air and land transport.

A second package signed in 2004 covers areas such as Switzerland's participation in Schengen, EU asylum laws, and agreements on taxation of savings and combatting fraud.

A poll published on Sunday in the Sonntags Blick newspaper suggests 74 percent of people surveyed oppose ending the EU agreements.

Switzerland is the EU’s third largest trading partner, after the US and China, and ahead of Russia and Japan.

Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'

Following an investigation into the Dieselgate scandal, the European Parliament recommended a single commissioner should be responsible for both air quality and setting industrial standards. But only the Greens want to commit to carry out that advice.

EU and Japan in delicate trade talks

The Japanese PM comes to Brussels to discuss the first results of the new EU-Japan free trade deal, plus WTO reform - a sensitive topic before he moves onto Washington to face Donald Trump.

Opinion

Closer EU-Caribbean ties mean greater prosperity for all

The foreign affairs minister of Haiti calls for the replacement EU-Africa, Caribbean, Pacific 'Cotonou' agreement of 2000 to be updated to take account climate change, infrastructure and tourism to help the country transition away from aid-dependence.

News in Brief

  1. EU: Russian citizenship plan 'attacks' Ukraine sovereignty
  2. Deutsche Bank hands over Trump loan documents
  3. UN: Europe is badly prepared for new refugee crisis
  4. Macron to set out 'Yellow vest' counter measures
  5. Italy requests EU action plan for new Libya migrant wave
  6. Far-right party leaders meet in Prague
  7. Priest shames politicians at reporter's funeral in Belfast
  8. Putin offers Russian citizenship to Ukraine regions

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'
  2. Far-right Facebook networks removed before Spain election
  3. EU and Japan in delicate trade talks
  4. Closer EU-Caribbean ties mean greater prosperity for all
  5. Details of EU Brexit talks with Blair and Soros kept secret
  6. Weber vows to block Nord Stream 2 amid 'sue' threat
  7. 'Next Juncker' must fix EU's corporate power problem
  8. EU want Facebook pan-EU advert fix for May elections

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us