Switzerland call post-Brexit deal 'good news' for whole world
Geneva - Switzerland's incoming president Guy Parmelin said on Sunday the post-Brexit trade agreement between Britain and the European Union was "good news for the whole world".
Switzerland, which is not an EU member but has a relationship that guarantees market access, is also in its own tricky negotiations with the bloc which is eager to create an overarching agreement for the patchwork of deals.
In the first comments by the Swiss government on the post-Brexit deal, economy minister Parmelin - who takes over the annually rotating presidency on Friday -- said the agreement was also welcome news for Switzerland.
"It is good news for the whole world that an agreement has been reached. For Switzerland too," he told the Sonntags Zeitung newspaper.
London and the EU struck a trade deal on Thursday after 10 months of intense negotiations allowed them to soften the economic shock of Brexit.
When Britain leaves the EU single market at the New Year, it will not now face tariffs on cross-Channel commerce.
Parmelin did not comment on what the deal might mean for Switzerland's own framework agreement negotiations with the EU.
"We are now waiting for the text and will analyse the whole situation," he said.
Experts believe that the Swiss government is now coming under strong pressure to negotiate a better agreement with Brussels, the SZ reported.
After turning down EU membership in 1992, the Swiss voted in 2000 for a range of bilateral accords with the bloc.
Brussels has made no secret of its growing impatience to pin down a "framework accord" to pull together various bilateral agreements touching on access to the single market and fine-tuning applicable Swiss and EU laws.
Since 2008, the EU has insisted Switzerland must sign a framework agreement before concluding any new bilateral deals with the bloc.
Parmelin had to go into quarantine before Christmas after visiting London to sign an agreement which secures reciprocal, facilitated market access for service providers from Switzerland and Britain from January.
Parmelin takes over as president from Simonetta Sommaruga on Friday.