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Swiss Stocks May Turn Pariahs as Poll Shows Objection to EU Deal

WT24 Desk

Two thirds of Swiss voters in a poll believe the government shouldn’t sign a new agreement redefining its relationship with the European Union, weeks ahead of a deadline that could see EU-based equity investors cut off from trading on the Swiss stock market, Bloomberg reports.

SonntagsZeitung reported that 26% of respondents in a poll rejected the agreement between Switzerland and the bloc outright, while 41% said the government should try to get further concessions from Brussels, according to a poll of 14,670 people conducted by publisher Tamedia last week and released on Sunday.

Switzerland’s government faces a deadline to sign the so-called framework agreement by the end of June, when recognition under EU trading rules expires for the Swiss stock exchange, Europe’s fourth-biggest by market value. Brussels has made continued access contingent on Bern agreeing to a deal that’s unpopular with the electorate because of concerns that it could pressure wages that are much higher than in neighboring EU countries.

Power Politics

Swiss Economy Minister Guy Parmelin told tabloid SonntagsBlick the deal will have to be renegotiated, even if it means Switzerland has to face EU reprisals.

“The government knows there is no majority for the existing text,” he said. “That’s how power politics works, that’s what superpowers do.”

Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer said this week he wants to “get in touch” with Brussels again as feedback indicates the deal that took years to negotiate doesn’t have enough domestic support. Meanwhile, Martin Selmayr, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s chief of staff, told Swiss SRF TV this week that the deal cannot be renegotiated beyond minor tweaks.

Last week in a referendum, Swiss voters effectively voted in favor of continued membership of Europe’s open-border Schengen area and accepted new restrictions on semi-automatic firearms. They also gave a revision of the corporate tax code a green light and thereby avoided landing on an international blacklist of countries that don’t play by the rules.

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