Although the preambles speak of a balance of rights and obligations, the Draft Institutional Agreement between Switzerland and the EU does not comply with this requirement. On the contrary, the Agreement is very one-sided: the rights of legislation are with the EU, the obligations of implementation with Switzerland. The Forum für direkte Demokratie is therefore calling for renegotiations.
Up to now, the agreements with Switzerland have had to be renegotiated whenever the EU law was changed. The Framework Agreement should now stipulate that Switzerland must adopt innovations (so-called “further developments”) in the EU law. In case of disagreement on the interpretation of the new EU law, a joint arbitration tribunal will decide in the first round. This can refer the matter to the EU Court of Justice, which makes the final and binding decision.
In the field of agreements, the EU grants Switzerland “the widest possible participation in the preparation of its proposals”. However, this right to be consulted must not be allowed to mislead about the de facto imbalance. Amendments to the EU legislation in the field of the agreements also come into force in Switzerland immediately after their publication and implementation in the EU.
The Brexit negotiations have shown that, despite all the EU’s assertions to the contrary, it is quite possible to renegotiate successfully. The Forum für direkte Demokratie calls on the Federal Council not to allow itself to be put under pressure by short deadlines or threats from the EU and not to submit the Framework Agreement to the people until the imbalances have been eliminated. Any adoption of EU law must, as in the past, continue to be decided by the competent Swiss authority, right up to a possible referendum vote.
Forum für direkte Demokratie
Paul Ruppen (President),
Luzius Theiler (Member of the Board)
* The Forum für Direkte Demokratie, founded in 1992 to combat EEA accession, is the organisation of EU critics in Switzerland who argue ecologically, democratically and socially. The FORUM edits the EUROPA-MAGAZIN, which twice a year publishes high-profile background information on developments in the EU, the global spread of direct democracy and the situation of fundamental and human rights (www.europa-magazin.ch).
(Translation Current Concerns)
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