Statement by President Doris Leuthard on the EU’s decision regarding stock market equivalence

Bern, 21.12.2017 - -

The Federal Council has addressed the issue of stock market equivalence on a number of occasions. In recent days and weeks, Switzerland has made approaches at various levels. It has made its position clear, in particular to member states, the Commission and the Commission president. That position is that Switzerland fulfils the conditions for recognition of stock market equivalence every bit as much as the other third countries that have been granted indefinite recognition. Switzerland therefore considers this limited recognition to be a clear case of discrimination. The linking of this technical dossier with institutional issues is extraneous and unacceptable.

The Federal Council held an extraordinary meeting this morning in which it defined its position regarding the EU’s expected formal decision. In the Federal Council’s view there is doubt as to the legality of this decision. The Federal Council also has the impression that this decision by the European Union is intended to weaken Switzerland’s financial sector. It will take measures to counter the discriminatory decisions of the EU, which will improve Switzerland’s competitiveness. It has therefore decided to bolster Switzerland’s stock exchange and financial sector, and to that end intends to begin work immediately. The Federal Department of Finance (FDF) has been given the task of submitting proposals to the Federal Council by the end of January. The abolition of stamp duty is one of the key measures being considered.

Today’s decision by the European Union also risks harming bilateral relations on other important dossiers. The second instalment of the enlargement contribution to the EU’s eastern states has been cited as an example. In light of these developments, the Federal Council reserves the right to reconsider work on the relevant consultation paper. The Federal Council has always defended the further development of bilateral relations and has set the continuation of negotiations on an institutional agreement as an objective for 2018. It also recognises that significant differences still exist. A prerequisite for overcoming these differences is the willingness of both parties to hold objective discussions in an atmosphere of trust.

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