In a decision which could have ramifications for the UK post-Brexit, the seven-strong Swiss federal council, or cabinet, declined to formally agree a proposed new “institutional framework” governing EU trading relations with Switzerland, a non-EU member.
Instead, Bern announced it would launch a “consultation” across Switzerland lasting until next spring.
The decision amounts to a snub to the EU, which since the UK Brexit vote in 2016 has sought to redraw its relations with “third countries”.
It opens the way for retaliation by Brussels, which had previously warned that a first step would be the withdrawal of “equivalence” status for the Swiss stock exchange — meaning EU banks and brokers will not long be able to trade there.
The political weaponising of what should be a technical decision about equivalence sets a potentially worrying precedent for the UK’s financial sector, which is likely to face a similar regime post-Brexit. [...]
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