Framework agreement with the EU: the hope of civil society

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Should we bury the institutional framework agreement without further delay? Wisely, the Federal Council has decided to give itself time to reflect. During his meeting with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the Confederation, Guy Parmelin, was as round as he could. “We have made progress on certain points. Even though our positions sometimes remain very far from those of the EU, we have decided to stay in touch. ”

Clash avoided

For supporters of the agreement, a very small first goal has been reached. Switzerland and the EU avoided a resounding clash, which would inevitably have led to an escalation of the situation with known consequences. Little by little, the EU would have let the bilateral path erode, by systematically treating Switzerland as a third country: finished, the full and complete association of our brains in the next European research program; the mutual recognition of products under the Agreement on Trade Barriers is also over; above all, the special “tailor-made” regime that the EU reserved for Switzerland in the 1990s in the hope that it will one day join the club.

Read also: For Switzerland, the time for the Brussels call to order

Nothing is saved

However, the framework agreement is still far from being saved. This Friday in Brussels, the Commission blew hot and cold. The cold when its spokesperson, Eric Mamer, declared that “the text of 2018 is the right one and the one we need”, clearly implying that it could not be changed any more. The heat when his boss Ursula von der Leyen, who is said to be allergic to anything resembling “special wishes from member states”, found that “a dose of flexibility on both sides” was needed. By adding that the “door to the EU will always remain open”, she gave a clear signal of openness.

To read also: René Schwok on our relationship with the EU: “Switzerland has not been confronted with shocks”

The problem now is in Switzerland. For months, taking advantage of the deafening silence of a Federal Council completely overwhelmed in this matter, the opponents of the framework agreement had a good time declaring him in a state of clinical death. Without being contradicted, they affirmed that this agreement sold off Swiss sovereignty.

The ball is in the court of civil society

We must no longer count on the Federal Council to convince the parliament and then the people of the need for this agreement. Since last January, economic circles, but also the world of education, research and innovation, in short civil society, have mobilized like never before to demand a stable relationship with the EU. This is what is at stake with the framework agreement: the future of future generations.

To read again: The framework agreement and the late start of pro-Europeans