Auteur: Lisbeth Kirk
Switzerland will succeed in renewing its trade deals with Brussels without committing one single Swiss Franc to the EU enlargement, reports Norwegian daily Nationen.
The European Commission as well as the Swiss part has confirmed the information, according to Nationen.
This news has received some attention in Norway, because Norwegians were forced some months ago to pay 1.7 bn crowns (210 million euro) per year between 2004 and 2009 in return for their new agreement on access to the internal market of the enlarged EU.
The deal made the Norwegians main contributors to enlargement, paying more per capita than any of the EU member states.
Access to Internal Market
Switzerland held some strong cards in the negotiations with Brussels. A great deal of the heavy-goods transported in Europe passes through the Alpine country.
On top of this, Swiss banks have been firm on maintaining the famed secrecy of their banks - despite pressure from the EU.
Swiss relations to the EU are built on a free trade agreement dating back to 1972, known as Bilateral I.
In June 2002, seven new agreements went into force, named Bilateral II. And soon - a final compromise will be reached - ten new agreements will be ready, named Bilateral III.
The Swiss government spokesman, Adrian Sollberger, said to Nationen that the agreement with the EU does not necessarily mean Switzerland will stop supporting poor Eastern European countries.
"For a long time we have supported them. But our attention in development policies has lately moved from those countries becoming members of the EU to other states - to the Balkans and to former Soviet states. I do not know, if we are to reconsider the priorities", he said.
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