FACTBOX-Main issues in Swiss-EU treaty standoff

FILE PHOTO: Switzerland's national flag flies beside the one of the European Union in Steinhausen, Switzerland February 11, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

Switzerland and the European Union have been wrangling for years over a draft treaty produced in 2018 that would formalise ties now governed by a patchwork of bilateral accords and create a more effective platform to resolve disputes.


The treaty focuses on five areas: free movement of people, civil aviation, land transport, mutual recognition of industrial standards and processed farm goods. Bern would routinely, but not automatically, adopt EU single market rules in these areas and any future accords, such as an electricity union.


The EU originally wanted its European Court of Justice (ECJ) to act as the referee, but has since agreed to let arbitration panels address differences, albeit using ECJ guidance on how to interpret EU law.

If either party fails to comply with the panel's decision, the other party can take compensatory measures. The panel could then decide whether such measures are proportionate


There are two main ones:


The Swiss system of "flanking measures" – adopted in 2004 to ensure foreign workers on temporary assignments do not undercut high Swiss pay -- is seen as a non-negotiable red line for Swiss labour unions but upsets many EU members


Swiss officials baulk at giving EU citizens the same access to social benefits as the Swiss get

(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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