EU infuriated Switzerland after 'trying to make country a de-facto member state'

THE EUROPEAN UNION angered some in Switzerland prompting one politician to accuse the bloc of trying to make the country a "de-facto member."

PUBLISHED: 19:29, Wed, Jan 6, 2021 | UPDATED: 19:29, Wed, Jan 6, 2021

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Switzerland’s ‘special relationship’ with the EU explained

Switzerland and the EU have had an unconventional relationship in recent years as Bern and Brussels still negotiate the terms of their cooperation after six years of toing and froing. Leaders on both sides are trying to form institutional framework agreements, but thus far negotiations haven't reached a conclusion. Last year, progress looked to have been made after Switzerland held a referendum in which the people voted against limiting freedom of movement between Switzerland and the bloc. During the debate leading up to the vote, however, one figure in Switzerland accused the EU of trying to make the country a "de-facto" member of the bloc.


Thomas Aeschi, the parliamentary leader of the populist Swiss People’s Party, said: “The EU wants to make us a de facto member state.

“The big danger is passive EU membership.”

Mr Aeschi warned in 2015 that Brexit could spark a chain reaction where countries like Sweden and Denmark "would at least start reconsidering their relationship with the EU”.

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The debate in Bern regarding the EU shares parallels with the Brexit row in Britain, as the country grapples with a need for sovereignty but also strong trading ties.

The EU is Switzerland's main trading partner, but Switzerland is also the EU's fourth-biggest partner after the US, China and the UK.

EU news: Switzerland has been in negotiations with the EUEU news: Switzerland has been in negotiations with the EU (Image: getty)

EU news: Aeschi accused the EU of trying to make Switzerland a 'de-facto member'EU news: Aeschi accused the EU of trying to make Switzerland a 'de-facto member' (Image: getty)

Swiss exports to the EU are concentrated on a few sectors, particularly chemicals/pharma and medical products, machinery, instruments and watches.

Switzerland's business is important for the EU, especially in services.

Guy Parmelin, the Swiss economy minister, warned in 2019 the country could

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