On 16 and 17 July, Silvana Koch-Mehrin participated at the 31st EU-Switzerland interparliamentart meeting in Bern, Switzerland, in her capacity as a member of the EP-Delegation to Switzerland and the European Economic Area (SINEEA).
A broad range of bilateral topics were discussed with members of the Swiss parliament:
- Institutional issues
- Freedom of movement of persons and Schengen agreement
- Energy policies in Europe and Switzerland
- The financial crisis
- Taxation policies
Below you will find the Joint Statement of the Delegation of the Swiss Federal Assembly for relations with the European Parliament and the Delegation of the European Parliament for relations with Switzerland:
„To the Swiss Federal Council, to the European Commission, to the Council of the EU, to the European Parliament, to the Swiss Federal Assembly:
We reiterate our commitment to interparliamentary political dialogue, in particular with regard to engagement in the relaunched debate on the future of the EU-Switzerland institutional arrangement.
We take note of the letter from the President of the Swiss Confederation Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf to the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso of 15 June, in which Switzerland informs the EU of its proposals aimed at addressing the institutional questions. These solutions might be applied in the field of electricity cooperation and could be used in dealing with other issues related to market access.
We welcome the fact that, notwithstanding divergent points of view, the Swiss government and the EU institutions commit themselves to find common ground for the institutional aspects of their relations. In view of our interdependence we encourage the Swiss government and the EU institutions to continue to work actively and constructively on the development of an institutional framework governing the relations between the EU and Switzerland.
In addition, we call on the Swiss government, the European Commission and the Council of the EU to solve the pending questions related to the agreement on free movement of persons, notably the differences over the invocation of the Safeguard Clause and the implementation of several flanking measures by Switzerland.
In this regard, we encourage the European Parliament (EP) and the Swiss Parliament alike to exchange information early in advance on issues that might affect their mutual relations.
We furthermore consider that the Committee-to-Committee dialogue between the EP and the Swiss Parliament should be further enhanced, in particular by inviting Swiss parliamentarians to take part in EP interparliamentary Committee meetings with national parliaments of the EU Member States where appropriate, and by inviting MEPs to the relevant meetings in the Swiss parliament.
As the relations between the EU and Switzerland are of an outstanding contractual, political and economic importance, we witness a number of divergences of views and problems to be resolved, due to the complexity of our close relationship. However, interparliamentary meetings between the European Parliament and the Swiss Parliament have been held so far only once a year, because Switzerland though being Member of EFTA is not part of the EEA.
For this reason we thoroughly express our joint commitment to upgrade our interparliamentary relations in order to be on an equal footing with the EP’s interparliamentary activities with candidate countries and with countries associated to the EU. Hence, two annual interparliamentary meetings should be held in the future. In this context, we commit ourselves to elaborate rules of procedure for our future meetings, which will be submitted for approval to the competent authorities of our Parliaments before the next interparliamentary meeting.
The Chair of the Delegation of the European Parliament for relations with Switzerland: Pat the Cope Gallagher, Member of the European Parliament
The Chair of the Delegation of the Swiss Federal Assembly for Relations with the European Parliament: Didier Berberat, Councillor of States“