EU-Switzerland relations: President Juncker in Bern to continue good cooperation

Today President Juncker met Ms Doris Leuthard, President of the Swiss Confederation as well as Mr Alain Berset, Vice-President of the Swiss Confederation and Mr Ignazio Cassis, Federal Councillor in charge of Foreign Affairs, in Bern, where discussions focussed on EU-Swiss cooperation in a number of areas as well as the importance of the institutional framework agreement for the future of EU-Swiss relations. “J’aime bien les choses qui vont ensemble: l’Europe et la Suisse” President Juncker said, “la Suisse fait partie de l’histoire et de la culture européenne”. With regards to the framework agreement, President Juncker added that “Switzerland is an important partner for the EU. We are moving in the right direction. In Spring, we want to agree on this ‘Freundschaftsvertrag’ (‘Friendship Treaty’)”, underlining that the agreement will be on the agenda when he meets with President Leuthard in April next year. The EU and Switzerland signed an agreement to link their emissions trading systems. The link will allow participants in the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) to use allowances from the Swiss system for compliance, and vice versa. This is the first agreement of this kind for the EU and between two Parties to the Paris Agreement on climate change. The EU ETS is the largest cap-and-trade system in the world and the cornerstone of the EU climate policy. Linking compatible emissions trading systems with each other is a long-term goal for the EU, as it expands opportunities for cutting emissions and thereby reduces the cost of fighting climate change. Second, the Commission has proposed to the Council to update some provisions relating to the existing agreement with Switzerland on insurance. The aim is to bring the 1991 EU/Switzerland agreement on non-life insurance into line with EU and Swiss rules that have since come into force. Non-life insurance products include car, travel or house insurance. The current agreement already allows EU insurers to apply EU solvency rules to their non-life-insurance branches in Switzerland. Reciprocally, Swiss insurers can currently apply Swiss solvency rules to their non-life branches in the EU. This update brings legal certainty to businesses and supervisors and ensures that both EU and Swiss insurers continue to benefit from the agreement, as it allows them to comply with only one set of rules. President Juncker and President Leuthard held a press conference at 11:30 CET, which can be followed on EbS+.