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The Swiss government said there remained “substantial differences” between the two sides on “key aspects of the agreement”. As a result, they decided to abandon the deal, which would have pushed Switzerland further into the EU’s regulatory orbit.
Lord Hannan warned Brussels the Swiss are unlikely to back down.
He wrote in the Sunday Telegraph: “The Swiss are no more likely than the British to give in to threats.
“If their current half-in-half-out deal status is no longer on offer, they will almost certainly move further out.
“And they will be right, for the best way to safeguard their prosperity is to retain the unusual political structures on which it rests.”
Swiss president Guy Parmelin
“The Swiss are no more likely than the British to give in to threats”
Switzerland’s trading relationship with the EU is governed by around 120 individual treaties.
However, Brussels has been determined to pull the country closer into its regulatory sphere.
Speaking to Lord Hannan, a Swiss MP said: “It was exactly what they tried to do to you during the Brexit talks.
“They basically wanted us to be non-voting members, following all their rules without a say. Boris said no to them and so have we.”
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Switzerland has pulled out of a news framework agreement with the EU
The EU demanded Switzerland embrace full freedom of movement with the bloc as part of the deal.
This would allow EU national to live in Switzerland, and access its social services, even if they don’t have a job.
The move was resisted by the Swiss with Ignazio Cassis, the country’s foreign minister, saying their demands were “not met” by Brussels.
Lord Hannan warned the EU are likely to turn on Switzerland following the rejection.
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Switzerland held a national referendum on immigration in 2020
Britain formally left the EU in January 2020
He commented: “Few expect the EU to let things lie.
“Just as it did during the Brexit talks, it will seek to tighten the screw, excluding Switzerland from common deals on pharmaceuticals, research, financial services and more.
“The fact that it cannot do these things without damaging its own economy is of no concern.
“For Brussels functionaries, European unity is an end in itself, not a means to a better life.”
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As a result of the Swiss decision the country’s medical technology firms, which account for three percent of its GDP, will no longer be able to export to the EU duty-free.
The European Commission said: “We regret this decision, given the progress that has been made over the last years.”
Lord Hannan noted Swiss GDP is twice the EU average, and argued their rejection of the bloc has played a role in this prosperity.
The UK voted for Brexit in June 2020
He wrote: “The reason the Swiss did not want to join the EU is that they could see that ever-closer union was incompatible with the principles that govern their confederation, namely the dispersal of power to the cantons and the regular use of referendums.
“Those precepts have served to make them the richest and freest people in Europe.”
Britain formally left the EU in January 2020, more than three years after voting for Brexit.