Swiss signal labor rule flexibility in EU treaty talks

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ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland is ready to consider a versatile approach to labor market rules in talks while using European for a new treaty, Foreign Minister Ignacio Cassis said, signaling movement using a potential obstruction for just about any deal.

Swiss rules for how foreign companies deploy workers for short-term projects can be a thorn from the side for Brussels, that also wants the treaty to modify Swiss state aid that can skew competition, diplomats say.

The European Commission is depending upon Switzerland to help make concessions over the two areas after Brussels a year ago agreed in principle to let arbitration panels settle some disputes within a new accord to formalize ties with non-member Switzerland.

That helped ease Swiss concerns about letting “foreign judges” rule on disputes, anathema to the Swiss far right.

In a meeting aired by Swiss broadcaster SRF on Wednesday, Cassis seemed offered to changing labor rules how the Swiss cabinet has previously known as the non-negotiable “red line” and the labor unions insist be in place.

“Both the EU and Switzerland needs to be willing to make the leap in order to find creative ways,” Cassis said when mentioned the labor measures and ways to protect domestic workers from cut-rate foreign competition.

“I think if each party try there is a probability of agreeing,” he added, suggesting by way of example halving to four days the notice period employers ought to give Swiss authorities before sending workers throughout the border for projects.

Paul Rechsteiner, head on the Swiss labor union federation as well as a individual in top of the house of parliament for your center-left Social Democrats in government, opposed the suggestion.

“There is completely no reason at all to provide in here simply because EU says doesn’t necessarily such as deadline,” Rechsteiner told SRF.

Switzerland in 2004 introduced “flanking measures” to safeguard Swiss wages and dealing conditions, two years after a deal permit EU citizens live and operate in Switzerland arrived to effect. Such free movement is really a prerequisite for Swiss accessibility to the EU single market.

Both sides make an effort to hammer out an accord over a treaty this current year, with negotiations heating before the summer break.

But any deal faces Swiss voter approval beneath the country’s system of direct democracy, and parallel EU negotiations with Britain over relation to its EU exit also make things worse. Many Swiss politicians think the Brexit talks could open new methods for the Swiss in addition.