The Telegraph, May 30, Roger Bootle
It is not often in European history that Switzerland plays a pivotal role, but last week’s news that it had pulled out of the negotiations about a treaty with the EU was seismic. It says quite a lot about Switzerland, but it also speaks volumes about the EU and has clear implications for how we should regard Brexit.
Cast your mind back to the period before the Brexit referendum of 2016. As it became increasingly clear that the UK was not a happy member of the EU, people were looking around for an alternative arrangement. The Swiss set-up was touted as one possibility.
Superficially, it did indeed have its attractions as Switzerland enjoys access to the Single Market, but it can negotiate its own free trade agreements.
Moreover, it is not a signatory to the various EU treaties that set member countries on the path to full economic and political union. There has been no attempt to force the Swiss to give up their precious franc in favour of the euro.
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