Auteur: | By Lisbeth Kirk
Just two weeks after a majority agreed in a referendum to increase cooperation with the EU on security and asylum issues, the Swiss government has announced it will produce a report considering its options regarding the EU.
A majority of the people do not want EU membership but Switzerland could sign a framework agreement with the EU as an alternative to joining the organisation, according to Swiss Secretary of State Michael Ambuhl.
In an interview with the SonntagsZeitung, the senior diplomat said, "it would provide an institutional framework for the bilateral approach". He added EU membership is "not on the table at the moment".
The government report on Europe is expected to be ready by 2007.
The next Swiss EU-related referendum will be held in September, when the Swiss will decide on whether or not to give the same rights to work and live in the country to citizens of the ten new EU members, as to the 15 old ones.
"If the Swiss vote against extending the accord on the free movement of people, they would create two classes of EU citizens, those with the right to work in Switzerland and those without it", Mr Ambuhl warned. "This would be a form of discrimination which the EU would not allow".