Switzerland and EU open negotiations

18 March 2024 15:33

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Brussels - Swiss President Viola Amherd and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, have opened negotiations on the Bilateral Agreements III. As part of a transitional arrangement, researchers in Switzerland are now eligible for calls for ERC Advanced Grants.

Switzerland's negotiations with the EU on the entirety of future bilateral relations began on 18 March. President Viola Amherd and President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen opened the negotiations in the presence of the chief negotiators from both sides, according to a statement from the Swiss government, the Federal Council.

Ursula von der Leyen believes the previous exploratory talks have prepared the negotiations well. “We both agree that we now have a common understanding and a basis of trust upon which to quickly make further progress in the negotiations,” she is quoted as saying in the press statement issued before the start of the negotiations. Global competition is becoming tougher, she acknowledged. “We therefore want to strengthen ties with our closest economic partners." These also include Switzerland.

As part of a transitional arrangement, the EU is once again admitting researchers in Switzerland to the calls for proposals for the European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grants 2024 with immediate effect. Switzerland's admission to the EU research framework program Horizon Europe is part of the overall package of negotiations, which includes agreements on the electricity market, health and food safety. The new package is intended to give the Swiss economy barrier-free access to the EU internal market.

Viola Amherd also met Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the EU Commission responsible for the negotiations, in Brussels. Šefčovič and Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis have scheduled a meeting for June to discuss the status of the negotiations. ce/stk

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