• Switzerland's news in English

Germany's Merkel comes to Switzerland's defence

AFP/The Local · 18 Feb 2014, 15:16

Published: 18 Feb 2014 15:16 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

In a Berlin joint press conference with Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, Merkel said Germany should watch how Switzerland implements the changes over the next three years.
"The task now is to deal with the result so that relations between the European Union and Switzerland remain as intense as possible, while respecting this referendum," she said.
"We have a transition period of three years, and now we have to find adequate solutions," she said, cautioning against tit-for-tat countermeasures.
"It's not right to say that because one side has done something in one area, the other side says in another area that nothing goes anymore," said the chancellor.
A narrow 50.3 percent of Swiss voters on February 9th approved an initiative to void a pact giving equal footing to EU citizens in the Swiss labour market.
The vote in favour of the "Stop Mass Immigration" initiative, put forward by the right-wing populist Swiss People's Party, could freeze other Swiss-EU deals, including on trade.
Brussels said on Sunday that it had suspended Swiss participation in EU research and education programmes after Bern called off a deal opening labour market access to Croatia within a decade.
Burkhalter said the immigration "decision was taken democratically in Switzerland" and was constitutionally binding but "not yet applicable law, not everything has changed since February 9th."
Switzerland is not a member of the EU but counts the bloc as its main trading partner.
Burkhalter said Switzerland wants even closer links with Germany, stressing that annual two-way trade amounts to 75 billion euros ($103 billion), about half of that between Germany and China.
Germany's yearly trade surplus with Switzerland of 11 billion euros matched its deficit with China, he said, meaning that "with Switzerland it can compensate for China".

In a day of what Swiss media called "diplomatic ballet", Burkhalter was heading to Paris after his visit with Merkel to meet with French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius. 

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Villagers asked to help fund bridge renovations
The bridge links the two villages of Veltheim (pictured) and Holderbank. Photo: Lutz Fischer-Lamprecht

The crowdfunding campaign by the two communes is the first of its kind in Switzerland.

Police discover body buried in Orbe house
File photo: Bas Leenders

Police have opened an investigation after finding a body buried in a house in Orbe, in the canton of Vaud, on Saturday.

Valais shaken by 4.2 magnitude earthquake
The earthquake hit in the canton of Valais near Sierre. Photo: Alain Rouiller

It's the biggest earthquake to hit the country for two years.

Swiss Indoors kicks off without champ Federer
Federer celebrates with ball girls and boys after winning the event in 2015. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Pool/AFP

Stan Wawrinka is top seed as injured Federer sits it out.

IOC hires Russian doping whistleblower as consultant
IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed the news. File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has hired Vitaly Stepanov as a consultant and is helping his runner wife Yuliya.

‘Scary clown’ craze hits streets of Zurich
Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP

Police in Zurich have warned so-called ‘scary clowns’ that they could face charges, following a number of incidents in the city.

VIDEO: driver chases runaway car on Swiss motorway
Image: Neuchâtel police

Shocking footage shows the moment a man dodged lorries to chase after his runaway car on a Swiss motorway.

Saas-Fee crowdfunds low-cost season ski pass
Saas-Fee is hoping to attract 99,999 season pass holders. Photo: Denis Emery/Photo-genic.ch

Skiers could get their hands on a whole season pass for just 222 francs ($223) in the Swiss resort of Saas Fee this winter – if enough people want one.

Swiss billionaire fined for dodging import tax
Urs Schwarzenbach owns the luxury Dolder Grand hotel in Zurich. Photo: Wilhem Rosenkranz

Urs Schwarzenbach faces a $4 million fine for failing to properly declare some 200 artworks imported into Switzerland.

Muslim woman wins headscarf court battle
Photo: Jack Guez / AFP

A Swiss court has ruled against a company that fired a longtime employee after she began wearing the Muslim headscarf.

Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
jobs available