EU approach: ‘common rules for a common project’
However, from the Swiss perspective, the relationship with the EU is a bilateral one. After all, extending the agreed rules on participation in the Union’s internal market to further States who in turn have concluded treaties with the EU requires additional treaties with those countries, to which the EU is not a party. For example, after Switzerland had concluded the Bilateral I package with the EU, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) States decided to revise the EFTA Convention in order to ensure that the same level of law would apply also in that other context. It is for this reason that the vote on immigration of 9 February 2014 has the potential of causing tensions not only with respect to the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons with the EU and its Member States but also with the revised EFTA Convention.As we will see in our next step, the Union’s blueprint for the reform of the institutional approach vis-à-vis Switzerland is that of the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement, ie the Treaty that extends the Union’s internal market to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. In a subsequent step, we will further see that institutional matters are also at issue in negotiations on an internal market association of the three microstates Andorra, Monaco and San Marino.The Council reaffirms that by participating in parts of the EU’s internal market and policies, Switzerland is not only engaging in a bilateral relation but becomes a participant in a multilateral project. It has taken note of the reconfirmation by the Swiss Federal Government in December 2013 of its attachment to a sectoral approach. The EU believes that an ambitious and comprehensive restructuring of the existing system of sectoral agreements would be beneficial to both the EU and Switzerland.
References Council conclusions on a homogeneous extended single market and EU relations with Non-EU Western European countries, General Affairs Council meeting Brussels, 16 December 2014, para. 44 et seq.
Switzerland in Europe: Money, Migration and Other Difficult Matters
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