The European Commission called on Switzerland last week to decide quickly to accept a draft treaty establishing ties with the European Union after Bern said it would first consult those who are opposing the deal. “We therefore expect the consultation to be swift and hope that its outcome will be positive,” the Commission said in a statement. It added that the draft treaty was “the best possible outcome negotiated between the two sides.”
The Swiss are generally aligned with much of the draft but would refrain from endorsing it at this moment since some differences remain. The EU Commission had set last Friday as the deadline. Brussels is expected to ban EU-based banks and brokers from trading on Swiss stock exchanges from 2019 as a punitive measure if Switzerland decides not to back the agreement, a move that is likely to trigger Swiss retaliation.
“The European Commission respects the wish of the Federal Council to consult all stakeholders,” the Commission said in its statement, but added that it expects “the consultation to be swift and hope that its outcome will be positive”. The Commission also said that the deal is the best one possible. The talks with the Swiss have, however, been complicated by Britain’s negotiations on its Brexit deal. Some see the Commission as being soft on the Swiss but harsh on the British. Some Swiss want to see what Britain is able to negotiate for itself before they commit to their own deal with the EU.