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Switzerland ramps up preparations for no-deal Brexit

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Switzerland ramps up preparations for no-deal Brexit
The Federal Place in Bern. File photo: AFP
16:55 CET+01:00
The Swiss parliament on Wednesday green-lighted the provisional application of two key bilateral agreements in a bid to ensure minimal disruption to Swiss–UK relations in the event of 'disorderly' Brexit.

In a statement, the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee said it had approved the provisional application of a citizen’s rights agreement and a trade agreement, both of which were announced by the Swiss and UK governments in December.

The committee said that in the event of a “disorderly” Brexit, provisional application of the agreements would ensure the rights and duties spelled out in current bilateral treaties between the Switzerland and the EU would – as far as possible – remain in place.

Read also: Switzerland and UK forge post-Brexit citizen's rights agreement

The decision by the Swiss parliament to preliminary approve the post-Brexit agreements comes a day after the lawmakers in the UK parliament overwhelmingly rejected UK Prime Minister Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement.

"The risk of a disorderly withdrawal of the UK has increased with this evening's vote,” said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker after the vote.

Around 43,000 UK citizens live in Switzerland while 34,500 Swiss nationals reside in the UK.

Trade between Switzerland and the UK was worth 17.5 billion Swiss francs (€15.5 billion) in 2017. The UK was Switzerland’s sixth biggest export market that year and its sixth largest direct investor in 2016.

Read also: Brits in EU demand from Brexit 'train crash' after May's deal rejected

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