Switzerland withdraws application to join EU

Switzerland's Parliament votes to officially withdraw long-dormant application to join the EU 

Swiss foreign minister Didier Burkhalter signals the end of the road for Switzerland's EU application
Swiss foreign minister Didier Burkhalter signals the end of the road for Switzerland's EU application

Switzerland’s Parliament on Wednesday voted to officially withdraw the country’s dormant application to join the European Union.

Following a vote in the lower house, foreign minister Didier Burkhalter was quoted as saying that the government will now tell the EU to “consider [the application] as withdrawn”.

He had earlier said that the application, that Switzerland had sent to the European Economic Community in 1992, was already invalid.

In 1992, Swiss voters narrowly rejected joining the single-market European Economic Area, of which Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are members and have access to the EU single market.

Back then, the Swiss Cabinet had backed the application for EU membership. However, Swiss voters rejected that bid in a referendum a few months later.

The Swiss system of direct democracy would require a national referendum to join the EU; a majority of voters and a majority of the country’s 26 cantons would have to approve it. 

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