Great Britain is on the horizon again – a setback for Switzerland
The consortium has no options on how to compensate for being excluded from the Horizon Research Program. Nevertheless, the Federal Council must not be subservient to Brussels.
Brussels and London have reached an agreement: the United Kingdom will once again participate in Horizon Europe. Horizon is the world’s largest research funding programme.
The EU is rewarding the British for showing they are willing to compromise earlier this year: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak abandoned his hardline stance on the Northern Ireland protocol while implementing Brexit. The EU has used the Kingdom’s withdrawal from Horizon to apply pressure on the Northern Ireland issue.
This is familiar to Swiss ears: Brussels wants to conclude an enterprise agreement with Bern. After the Federal Council broke off negotiations on a framework agreement in 2021, the EU decided to treat Switzerland as a third country in future research cooperation.
With the agreement between London and Brussels, Swiss hopes of more serious cooperation with Great Britain were dashed. While the US is important as a research partner, it can’t come close to replacing Horizon.
Switzerland is losing options to resist pressure from the EU. At the same time, it is clear that surrendering to negotiations for an enterprise agreement is not the solution. Switzerland needs a treaty that can stand up to those who have the right to vote. The Federal Council must withstand pressure from the EU.
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