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Wed May 26, 2021, 03:21 PM

Swiss Put Crucial EU Ties at Risk By Scrapping Deal With Bloc

Switzerland refused to sign a treaty it hammered out with the European Union, a move likely to undermine relations with its biggest trading partner and potentially damage the economy. The Swiss government said the two sides weren’t able to bridge differences on state aid and wage protections, which it described as “key concerns.”

The announcement ends years of wrangling, which at one point nearly thwarted the smooth functioning of Switzerland’s stock market. It also constitutes a risk for Swiss businesses, because the new deal would have secured continued access to the bloc’s single market. An EU official said no new access could be considered after the country announced it wouldn’t sign up to the agreement.

The draft ran into opposition in Switzerland, where the nationalists worried their country would lose its independence and labor unions feared it would erode high local wages. Another point of dispute was the Swiss having to take over elements of EU law.


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