REUTERS, 27th NOVEMBER, 2018-The Swiss government aims to clinch a deal with the European Union on a new treaty governing relations in 2019, it said on Tuesday, again pushing back the timetable for an accord that both sides had intended to conclude this year.
Prospects for a treaty setting out Switzerland’s ties to its biggest trading partner faded last month when four years of talks yielded no breakthrough.
The EU wants neutral Switzerland to ease rules that protect high Swiss wages against cross-border competition from skilled labor. Swiss unions are fighting this tooth and nail.
The talks have been complicated by Britain’s separate negotiations on EU divorce terms, with the European Commission loath to be soft on the Swiss for fear of providing ammunition to Brexiteers.
The Swiss cabinet is due to address the situation on Friday, with leaders of all four coalition parties expressing scepticism that a deal can emerge this year ahead of elections in both Switzerland and for the European Parliament in 2019.