Swiss govt brushes off EU deadline for backing new treaty
The Swiss government will seek more political consultations on a draft treaty setting out ties with the EU, it said on Friday, ignoring an ultimatum to sign off by Friday or face punishment. The EU is Switzerland’s biggest trading partner. The cabinet said in a statement that much of the draft – negotiated over more than four years – was in Swiss interests but it would refrain from initialing the pact for now given some differences that remain. It would revisit the subject in spring 2019, it said. EU sources have said Brussels will ban EU-based banks and brokers from trading on Swiss stock exchanges beyond the end of 2018 as a punitive measure should Bern not clearly back the deal by Friday, Reuters reports. That would prompt Swiss retaliation.