Key dossiers on cooperation
Linking of emissions trading systems
The Agreement on linking emissions trading systems (ETS), ratified by Switzerland and the EU in December 2019, entered into force on 1 January 2020. Negotiations on linking the trading systems for greenhouse gas emission allowances first began in 2011. Specifically, linking the two systems allows Switzerland to participate in the European emissions trading market, thus enabling companies covered by the ETS to reduce their emissions at a lower cost. This creates a level playing field as large Swiss emitters now pay the same carbon prices as their European competitors. In addition to environmental benefits, this linking of the two ETS also has economic advantages: it enables companies participating in the Swiss system to trade emissions on the larger European market. The emissions generated by civil aviation activities are also to be incorporated into the Swiss ETS, thus bringing it into line with that of the EU. Moreover, this linking of the Swiss ETS with that of another state was the first agreement of its kind and an essential step in exempting Switzerland from the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). The ETS agreement is affected by dynamic developments in the EU's climate policy. This means that the Swiss ETS must be continuously reviewed and amended, if necessary.
Galileo and EGNOS European global satellite navigation systems (GNSS)
This agreement authorises Switzerland to take part in the European satellite navigation systems established under the Galileo and EGNOS programmes. It gives Switzerland access to all signals and the right to membership of various committees and working groups. In addition, the agreement ensures that the Swiss aerospace and service industries enjoy the same conditions as their EU counterparts when tendering for contracts. In return, Switzerland makes an annual contribution to the programme costs. The market opportunities associated with the GNSS programmes are of long-term importance, and the many ways in which these European programmes and the signals they generate can be used hold great potential for a wide group of users.
Switzerland’s second contribution to selected EU member states is intended to boost its credibility as an active and supportive partner of the EU and, in so doing, to strengthen Switzerland’s bilateral relations with the partner countries. It also seeks to contribute to stability and prosperity in those countries, and to better manage migratory flows by reducing economic and social disparities. At CHF 1.3 billion, the second Swiss contribution matches its 2007 ‘cohesion payment’. The new contribution is earmarked for 13 countries that joined the EU between 2004 and 2013. The Swiss funds will be invested in projects and programmes that run until 2029, with the countries in question providing a minimum of 15% in co-financing. Switzerland also sees this as an opportunity to encourage partnership between the countries and the Swiss actors involved, in particular when it comes to leveraging Swiss advice and expertise.
Zusammenarbeit im Wettbewerbsbereich
Given the closely linked nature of the Swiss and EU economies, anti-competitive practices affecting both jurisdictions are on the rise. However, the competition authorities have difficulty enforcing competition law in such cases, as their jurisdictional reach is generally restricted to their national territory. At the international level, it is now widely accepted that effective cooperation between competition authorities helps ensure better protection of competition. The Agreement between the EU and Switzerland concerning cooperation on the application of their competition laws, concluded on 17 May 2013, aims to strengthen cooperation between the competition authorities of the two parties. The agreement, which entered into force on 1 December 2014, improves the implementation of competition law by enabling the two parties to exchange information on cross-border cases and coordinate their processes.