The Swiss Socialist Party wants to relaunch the debate on EU membership
A year after breaking off talks to restructure Switzerland’s agreements with Brussels, leaders of the Swiss Socialist Party have presented a plan on how Switzerland could eventually join the EU, RTS reports.
A 32-page document sets out a strategy that unites the party on the issue, which has divided it for many years. The union-backed part of the party has long feared an influx of workers from the EU could hurt wages, while many other party members were more focused on the benefits of integrating Switzerland into the bloc. .
The document outlines the pros and cons of EU membership. Benefits cited include participation in decisions in Brussels, more advanced EU climate policies and more stable cooperation in research and education. On the negative side, he cites the necessary reforms of the Swiss system of direct democracy, the need to double the VAT and the pressure that the Swiss public services sector would suffer as it was exposed to competition from the EU.
Overall, the party sees a net benefit in this, arguing that Europe is heading towards a more socialist, more ecological and more democratic future, conditions which please the party.
However, public opinion disagrees with this perspective. A poll published in 2020 showed that only 7% were in favor of Switzerland joining the EU. This does not discourage the party, which only sees the current position as the start of a long journey. Cedric Wermuth, co-leader of the party, said there were no guarantees, but we believe now is the time to reopen a path to Europe.
The plan contains three phases. The first is to settle Switzerland’s participation in Horizon Europe and Erasmus by the end of 2023. The second is to reach an economic agreement by 2028 and then open negotiations to join the EU. The most optimistic members hope to see membership by the end of the decade. Others pin their hopes on membership in 20 years.
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