Environment and climate – stepping up cooperation on shared challenges

Frozen landscape at the water's edge
Frozen landscape at the water's edge © FDFA, Presence Switzerland

The EU and Switzerland face the same challenges of demographic growth and the pressure on the environment. They take similar positions when it comes to finding global solutions in international conferences on sustainable development or the climate.

Motivated by a shared desire to better conserve the European continent’s natural resources, over the years the EU Member States have built up a large body of environmental legislation. European framework legislation has been adopted with regard to improving air and water quality, promoting waste recycling, reducing CO2 emissions from motor vehicles and restricting the hunting of migratory birds, to name only four main issues.

European Environment Agency in Copenhagen

Although in most cases Switzerland has its own standards for environmental protection, the Swiss industry closely monitors the norms applicable to products in the EU. Moreover, it is in Switzerland’s interests to exchange comparable data on the state of the environment with its neighbours. This is what led Switzerland to sign an agreement with the EU in 2004 regulating its participation in the European Environment Agency. Based in Copenhagen, this agency collects and analyses data on the state of the environment in Europe.

With their very similar climate change objectives, Switzerland and the EU have also signed an agreement on linking their CO2 emissions trading systems (ETS) in November 2017.