Published on 18/06/2019 4:06:53 PM | Source: Reuters

EU Commission sees lack of progress on EU-Swiss partnership talks

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By Francesco Guarascio

BRUSSELS  - The European Commission sees a lack of progress in talks with Switzerland over a new partnership treaty, a top official said on Tuesday, which could signal the end of Swiss stock exchanges' access to the EU market in July.

"The commissioners noted the lack of progress, therefore the college saw no need to take any decision," Commissioner Maros Sefcovic said, reporting the results of the weekly meeting of the EU executive.

A senior EU official told Reuters that meant the Commission had decided not to extend the "equivalence" status of Swiss exchanges, which expires at the end of the month. Brussels had to decide over recommending an extension at Tuesday's meeting.

A formal proposal for not extending the equivalence regime will be tabled by the end of the week after the political decision was made at Tuesday's meeting, the official added.

A Swiss government spokesman had no immediate comment.

Sefcovic said that Brussels continued to back the ratification of a new treaty governing the relations with Switzerland and the bloc, which would coved citizens' rights, wages and other major issues.

"Our doors remain open to conclude the agreement before the end of this commission's mandate," he said. The commission's mandate ends on October 31.

The Swiss government has demanded more information from the EU on several issues before it signs off on the draft treaty.

Swiss-EU relations suffered in 1992 when Swiss voters rejected joining the European Economic Area. This led to a negotiated patchwork of 120 accords that now govern ties. The treaty in question would sit atop those accords.

(Additional reporting by Michael Shields, editing by Robin Emmott)