Johann Schneider-Ammann: He should judge it in Bern

Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann is to convince the trade unions of a framework agreement with the EU. It will be the most difficult political task of this summer.

Johann Schneider-Ammann: He should judge it in Bern
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    So much is certain: sometime in next few months or rar years will come Sunday in which Swiss will vote on ir relationship with European Union. An agreement which is known under a deterrent technical name: institutional framework agreement. The aim is to make bilateral treaties regulating relationship between Switzerland and EU suitable for future. And it is intended to establish what EU law Switzerland will henceforth take over, how it will do so and, above all, which court should lay down right and decide if re is a dispute.

    But before anyone can vote or only collect signatures for a referendum against such an umbrella contract, Switzerland and EU must agree on a framework agreement. And that, as much has been clear in recent weeks, is likely to be difficult.

    In fact, in Switzerland, foreign policy votes are based on same pattern: all against SVP.

    Since Berne is talking about a possible agreement with Brussels, it is also stated that if Federal Council does not present treaty to people anyway, SVP will take referendum against it. Already today party is talking about a "connection and subjugation contract".

    But this summer, much is different.

    Nobody talks about SVP. And foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, who wanted to revive European politics, is suddenly no longer at centre of debate. The question of Europe has become a domestic political conflict. In main roles: trade unions and economics minister Johann Schneider-Ammann.

    The reason for this is an interview that Foreign Minister Cassis, like Schneider-Ammann, gave to Swiss radio SRF in mid-June. He also commented on accompanying measures that protect Swiss wages and working conditions: "It is an almost religious question on both sides." The EU and Switzerland would have to be ready, said Cassis, to jump over ir own shadows and find creative ways to grant wage protection in or ways. What Cassis meant: so-called eight-day rule could be adapted. It stipulates that companies from EU area have to register ir employees in Switzerland, eight days before y start ir work here. The foreign minister asked to halve this deadline to four days.

    This article comes from time No. 29/2018. Here you can read entire output.

    It was unaccustomed words of a member of government who had so far always stressed that se flanking measures were a "red line" in negotiations with EU. The unions reacted accordingly indignantly. They want to stick to existing measures, especially eight-day rule. Paul Rechsteiner, president of Swiss Federation of Trade Unions, and his chief economist Daniel Lamp-type have been repeating ever since, what y had always emphasized before Cassis's statements: we do not negotiate wage protection.

    Foreign Minister Cassis wanted to press "reset button" in European politics. So he promised it when he took office. Now he finds himself in midst of an old conflict.

    Without support from trade unions and left, Federal Council cannot persuade Parliament of a framework agreement, nor does it win a referendum.

    But EU has been disturbing eight-day rule for years. It considers that certain flanking measures, such as this sign-off or a bail-out obligation, would violate freedom of movement of persons – and be pure protectionism. The Swiss, above all trade unions, want to hold on to this because y fear wage dumping by foreign cheap competition and poorer working conditions.

    Date Of Update: 15 July 2018, 12:02

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