Former Federal Councilor Adolf Ogi (SVP) thinks that the Federal Council must now go to Brussels to negotiate.
About 18 months ago, the Federal Council broke off negotiations on an institutional framework agreement with the EU. The decision heated tempers – and divides Switzerland to this day.
Even old federal councilors disagree about whether that was good or bad. Spicy: Former members of the government do not actually comment on the business of their successors. Now some of them have done it to Radio SRF as part of the “Rendez-vous” program.
Moritz Leuenberger was “extremely upset”
Former CVP Federal Councilor Arnold Koller (89) described the Federal Council’s decision as a “great disappointment”. For him it is incomprehensible that negotiations lasted seven years and then “just threw down the beggar”.
Moritz Leuenberger (76, SP) was also “extremely upset” about the termination of the negotiations, as he told Radio SRF. “On certain issues, the Federal Council must take risks and convince the people.”
Contract would have had to go before the people
That’s how Adolf Ogi (80) sees it: “You should have gone to parliament and the people with the framework agreement,” says the former SVP Federal Councilor. It is precisely his party that always says “the people should have the last word”.
Even if the people had said no, the decision would at least have been “democratically legitimate,” agrees Koller. With a parliamentary or referendum behind it, the Federal Council could have taken a much clearer negotiating position vis-à-vis Brussels.
In this way, however, the Federal Council has weakened itself. Now he has to spoon up the soup himself – at least that’s the opinion of Ogi. He demands that the Federal Council must personally negotiate a new contract. Instead of sending state secretaries to Brussels, the state government must now “wet its pants itself”.
Blocher shows understanding
Not all old Federal Councilors agree with the criticism. For Christoph Blocher (81, SVP), for example, the contract was “lost anyway” because it would have included the mandatory adoption of EU law and the recognition of the EU Court of Justice as the highest court.
Micheline Calmy-Rey (77, SP) also spoke favorably of the Federal Council. The agreement would have “deeply divided” Switzerland, she says on the radio. “So I understand that the Federal Council stopped the exercise.”
The Federal Council itself justified the termination of the negotiations in May 2021 mainly with the threatening weakening of wage protection and the risk that the Union Citizens Directive could increase social welfare costs. (SDA/bgs)