Schwexit is averted, but there are still differences between the EU and Switzerland. It is about the very big questions in politics and economy, and it is specifically about the consequences for craft businesses close to the border. Now the trouble between Bern and Brussels is just beginning.
Now the trouble between Bern and Brussels is just beginning
Last Sunday was a super Sunday for political Switzerland. The citizens decided not only about the relationship with the EU, but also about the introduction of a short paternity leave and the purchase of a billion-dollar fighter jet fleet.
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At first glance everything looked completely normal: the so-called Schwexit had no chance, paternity leave will be introduced in January 2021 – and the Federal Council received the mandate to buy new aircraft. But already on Sunday evening it became clear: With this vote, the problems in Bern really begin.
On the one hand, this is due to the fighter jets, for which only 50.1 percent of the Swiss voted – and whose acquisition will cost about as much as a mandatory three-year vacation for young fathers. Almost 9,000 votes were decisive, the discussion about the aircraft should continue.
In addition, after this vote, the Federal Council will have to devote itself to its most difficult task again: negotiations with the European Union on future relations – although they are almost as close as among EU member states, Switzerland has a special status within Europe that has worked well for a long time , but is now partially in question.
But already in her friendly greeting for the vote, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen put the topic back on the agenda on Sunday: She wanted to continue the discussions on the “negotiated agreement” with Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga this week. Von der Leyen expects things to go “quickly”. From a Swiss point of view, that sounded like a threat – because until now she has played for a limited time on the question of the future relationship with the EU. In fact, it is the EU that is no longer satisfied with the previous treaties and is demanding changes. And the Swiss know: As long as Brexit is running, Brussels will not be particularly accommodating.