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Letter to the Editor

On the institutional framework agreement

The mere fact that such a unilateral agreement could get on the table for the purpose of internal consultations, is a damning indictment of the Federal Council’s policy. Well aware of the arrogance of EU leaders and negotiators (greetings from Brexit), Switzerland must also look at home, because:

  • it is becoming increasingly clear that the Swiss negotiators seem to be overwhelmed and are ripped off in some na´ve manner;
  • in such negotiations, which are important for Switzerland’s existence, there is a lack of necessary self-confidence and courage;
  • as overwhelmed and incompetent, the Swiss EU negotiating delegations appear to be staffed wrong and one-sided;
  • one looks in vain for preambles with premises which, as a basic condition, unambiguously and unrestrictedly guarantee, for example, state sovereignty, independent judiciary, social partnership, right of initiative, full referendum right, etc.;
  • there is a lack of indicators of what will be bindingly excluded, such as the most dangerous Citizens’ Rights Directive.

What is on the table should be disposed in the shredder of history, sooner rather than later. The dissatisfaction of the people is increasing across all party lines. To stop the exercise and a well thought out, early and broadly supported new beginning is necessary. The upcoming elections must not be a leitmotif.
The Federal Council ought to be clear by now that he is on the wrong track. Anyone who has watched the public hearing of the Foreign Policy Commission on television and read the treaty has had his eyes opened. If the Federal Council continues to hesitate, he will increasingly lose his credibility. Therefore, I call out to him: Lead and act quickly!
There is no doubt that we need a predictable agreement with the EU, which should not correspond to the logic of a “marriage contract”, not to say a “colonial treaty”, rather the logic of a loose partnership in mutual respect.

Hans-Jacob Heitz, MLaw UZH, Advokat & Mediator SAV, former judge of the Federal Administrative Court and former cantonal councillor

(Translation Current Concerns)