18.12.2015 In connection with the implementation of the Federal Constitution’s article 121a on immigration, the Federal Council adopted additional measures to combat abuses in the labor market and to make better use of potential within the domestic specialised labour force.  


The Federal Council made a number of preliminary decisions, taking account of the results of consultations on the draft of new legislation on foreign nationals: it is looking to apply a safeguard clause in order to control the immigration of persons covered by the Agreement on the free movement of persons with the EU. To do so, it will seek a mutually acceptable solution with the EU. In the event that it is unable to reach agreement with the EU in time, the Federal Council has, in a parallel move, instructed the FDJP to draft a dispatch on a unilateral safeguard clause.



The Federal Council adapted the Inland Navigation Ordinance (INO) and Ordinance on Exhaust Emissions from Ship Engines on Swiss Waterways (SEO) to the new EU directive on recreational craft and personal watercraft. This ensures that recreational craft and personal watercraft from the EU will continue to be admitted to Switzerland from 2016 with the simplified procedure.



Led by Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, representatives of the states of the Functional Airspace Block Europe Central (FABEC) adopted a ministerial declaration on a safer and more efficient surveillance of airspace in Central Europe at their meeting in Luxemburg.


The Federal Council decided that Switzerland would accept 1500 persons in need of protection within the framework of the EU relocation programme.


September 2015


Claude Maerten is Switzerland’s new EU contact person in Brussels. He succeeds Gianluca Grippa as Head of the Western Europe Division in the European External Action Service (EAS). Among other things Grippa has been negotiating the institutional questions with Switzerland.


The Federal Council has established a structure for the overall conduct of its negotiations with the European Union. This structure is meant to increase the chances of achieving an overall outcome that is balanced and clearly in the interests of Switzerland. State Secretary Jacques de Watteville, as chief negotiator, is responsible for ensuring an overall outcome of negotiations that corresponds to the objectives set out in the existing mandates.




Luxembourg has taken over the presidency of the Council of the EU from Latvia for a six-month term.


The Federal Council tasked the FDFA to develop a new structure during the summer with regard to negotiations with the EU and to propose a chief negotiator.



The Federal Council took note of the outcome of the consultation procedure on extending the validity of the Federal Act on Cooperation with the States of Eastern Europe (Eastern Europe Cooperation Act). The corresponding dispatch is expected to be submitted to Parliament by the end of February 2016.



The Federal Council presented two dispatches to Parliament. The first concerned the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters between the Council of Europe and the OECD; the second the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information.



The Federal Council opened the consultation on the agreement between Switzerland and EU on automatic exchange of information in tax matters.



Switzerland and the EU initialled an agreement regarding the introduction of the global standard for the automatic exchange of information in tax matters. Switzerland and the 28 EU member states intend to collect account data from 2017 and exchange it from 2018 once the necessary legal basis has been created.


The Federal Council wants to negotiate Switzerland’s participation in the Prüm cooperation. This cooperation simplifies the information exchange for the purposes of combating cross-border crime between the EU states. The Federal Council therefore adopted a mandate to negotiate with the EU.



The Federal Council adopted an amendment of the regulation on the implementation of the free movement of persons, which entered into force on 1 April 2015. EU and EFTA Citizens who search for a job in Switzerland will only get a residence permit if they have the financial means to meet their subsistence.



The Federal Council took various decisions on the implementation of the new constitutional provisions of the initiative against mass immigration. It launched the consultation on the draft of the new legislation on foreign nationals and adopted additional measures to make better use of the potential workforce within Switzerland. It also made a final decision on the negotiating mandate with the EU on the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons.



The president of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga met the president of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker for talks in Brussels. The meeting focused on the relations between Switzerland and the EU. Furthermore, Sommaruga met the president of the European Council Donald Tusk and the president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz for discussions.




Latvia has taken over the presidency of the Council of the EU from Italy for a six-month term.



Lithuania joins the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). There are now 19 EMU Member States.

Chronology Relations Switzerland-EU 2015