Bern EYP

Windy…

Sophie and Dilara

A crazy guy, honeybee (that’s what you call lovely organizers) of our group and my lovely Chairperson.

It was so fun!!!

Joshua Fuhrimann giving it all for the best pictures. Thanks!

Finding resolutions all day long… Brainstorming…

The EU Ambassador to Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. His Excellency, Ambassador Michael Matthiessen held a speech at the Opening Ceremony.

Hey, my beauties!<3 I’ve been busy all day so I didn’t have time for uploading something the last few days, sorry. One of the reasons for having no time was the European Youth Parliament (here is their website) where I participated. It was so much fun and I wanted to share this super cool experience with you. So here we go ;-). Below are some more and more exact information about my topic and everything else. But I don’t want to bother you when your not interested in politics. So I’ll talk more about personal experiences I’ve made. I was in the committee called AFCO which was the committee for the constitutional affairs. That means we thought and discussed the future the relationship between Switzerland and the EU (European Union). I chose this topic because I didn’t know much about it and I wanted to understand and learn more. And if you are pride swiss, as I am, and you are going to read the resolutions below I just want to mention that we tried to find the best resolutions for both parties. But anyway: First of all, it was so exciting to meet some new people from my own school I’ve never seen before. And I know it just has been two days in Bern but I’ve made so many new friends. So that was actually the main reason to go there. To met new people and build new friendships.Through all these new and amazing person I met there I also could connect to the lovely french speaking part of Switzerland. I’ve never known someone from there and now I have a lot of new friends to practice my French, haha. Basically to connect with other young people all over Switzerland which care about our future too and are interested in politics. Because I think all of us have the responsibility of an active citizenship. No matter where you from! And also we have the responsibility and the power to have an impact. A positive impact. As the motto said: Building skills, confidence, and friendships! So that’s what I or we did. One of the things I found especially cool was, that we slept in a bunker. I wouldn’t have mind to sleep in a super fancy hotel, haha. But it was so different and I know that’s probably something I’ll never do again. And it has also been the first time, but hopefully not the last, that I’ve been in Bern. Keep that our secret, haha. I mean I’m swiss and it has been the first time I’ve been in the capital of me wonderful and beloved country. Okay to be honest: I’ve been there before but just on the train station changing the train, twice. Unfortunate we were buzzy working on our topic, preparing the speeches, listening to the debates and resolutions and discuss, so we didn’t have any time to see some monuments and visit the city. But I some kind of felt the vibes of the city by spending so much time right next to the station of the soccer team from Bern, the Young Boys, and also the station of the hockey team, SCB. I could hear that they have super supporting fans, haha. So I definitely have to go there again and really enjoy the city of Bern. For more wonderful pictures check out their facebook page here!;-)

 

 

So that’s what it looked like running around all day long:

Day 1 (3.3.2017)

08:30 -9:30   Check-in  BWD Bern

 09:30-10:30  General Teambuilding  BWD Bern

10:30-13:00  Teambuilding  BWD Bern

13:00-14:00  Lunch in committee  BWD Bern

14:00-16:00  Committee Work  BWD Bern

16:00-16:15  Coffee Break  BWD Bern

16:15-18:00  Committee Work  BWD Bern

19:15-20:15  Opening Ceremony  Stade de Suisse

20:15-23:00  Committee Dinner  City of Bern

23:00  Evening Free Time  Accommodation

Day 2 (4.3.2017)

06:00-07:00  Accommodation

07:00-07:45  Accommodation

07:45-08:30 Transfer to BWD

08:30-09:15  GA Preparation  BWD Bern

09:15-09:30  Opening of General Assembly  BWD Bern

09:30-10:10  Debate 1  BWD Bern

10:10-10:50  Debate 2  BWD Bern

10:50-11:10  Coffee Break  BWD Bern

11:10-11:50  Debate 3  BWD Bern

11:50-12:30  Debate 4  BWD Bern

12:30-13:15  Lunch  BWD Bern

13:15-13:55  Debate 5  BWD Bern

13:55-14:35  Debate 6  BWD Bern

14:35-15:00  Coffee Break  BWD Bern

15:00-15:40  Debate 7  BWD Bern

15:40-16:20  Debate 8 (ours)  BWD Bern

16:20-18:00  Closing Ceremony  BWD Bern

18:00 Departures  BWD Bern

That who long it should have taken. But all of the delegates loved to discuss so at the end it ended at around quarter past seven. By the way, BWD means Bildungszentrum für Wirtschaft und Dienstleistungen = Educational center for business/economics and services.

 

If you want to no further information about my topic you can read a shorthand about it here:

AFCO – Committee on Constitutional Affairs

With the EU-Swiss sectoral agreements being very static and the EU unwilling to conclude further bilateral agreements without creating an institutional framework: how should the relations between Switzerland and the EU look in the future?

Definitions

Bilateral agreements: Switzerland pursues its interests with respect to the EU via bilateral agreements. The two parties negotiate agreements in selected sectors of mutual interest. The bilateral agreements are based on intergovernmental cooperation. No sovereignty rights are transferred to a higher instance, as it would have been if Switzerland had joined the EU. Most of the agreements are contracts and can be terminated by either party, separately and at any time. The Bilaterals I agreements are an exception. They were concluded as a package. Termination of one of them automatically results in the retraction of the remaining (the guillotine mechanism). All in all, around 100 bilateral agreements currently exist between the EU and Switzerland.

Institutional framework: An institutional framework is a system made of laws and regulations that will frame any activity related to the economy and social life. Similar to contracts, this structure is more formal and usual than bilateral agreements. Having an institutional framework could be the solution to avoid the aforementioned guillotine mechanism.

European Free Trade Association (EFTA): The EFTA was founded on the Stockholm Convention of 4th January 1960 by Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Portugal, United Kingdom, Sweden, and Switzerland. The main goal of the organization was to administrate and handle a territory of free-trade, especially for industrial products. Today, only the Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are part of this association, as the other members have joined the EU.

European Economic Area (EEA): The Agreement on the European Economic Area, which entered into force on 1 January 1994, brings together the EU Member States and three EEA EFTA States (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein) in a single market governed by the same basic rules.

European Single Market: Thanks to the Single Market, the European Union is considered as a single territory without any internal borders. This results in having no regulatory obstacles to the free movement of goods and services. The European

The single Market system encourages competition, improves efficiency, raises quality, and helps cut prices These rules aim to enable goods, services, capital, and persons to move freely about the EEA in an open and competitive environment, a concept referred to as the four freedoms. It has been one of the EU’s greatest creations. It has helped economic development and made the everyday life of European companies and consumers much easier.

Relevance of the topic

The challenge of finding a common agreement between the European Union and Switzerland has ramifications for the citizens of both the EU Member States and Switzerland. The bilateral agreements have indeed made life easier for everyone: not only was access to labor, goods and service markets simplified (Bilaterals I, 1999), but cooperation in many other areas were enhanced and the economic environment was improved (Bilaterals II, 2004).

The impacts of this cooperation have been crucial in the economic and social development of both Switzerland and the EU during the past few years. Therefore, the fear of discontinuing such agreements in the near future is comprehensible, as the outcome would be harmful to everyone. The bilateral path is not a simple option: the search for solutions with a Union of 27 member states is not always easy. However, it has thus far been the only way of conciliating Switzerland’s will not to join the EU without being completely excluded from the European Single Market.

In 2015 54% of Switzerland’s exports went to the EU while 72% of its imports came from there.13 In 2014, the Council of the EU defined the EU-Swiss relationship as good and close14, whilst noting that the conclusion of new agreements would only be possible if the parties were able to find solutions to the open questions regarding the institutional issues and the free movement of persons. Already in 2010, the President of The European Commission had declared that an institutional framework governing future cooperation between the EU and Switzerland would be necessary.15

Even though Switzerland is a small country, due to its geographical position, the European Union needs to find common ground with it. Solely economically speaking, the costs of always circumnavigating Switzerland would be substantial for the Member States. The bureaucratic processes currently streamlined by the treaties and the relative lack of quotas are tangible assets to both sides.

Key actors

The European Union and its Member States: The European Union (EU) is a political and economic association of 28 European sovereign states. Although the EU began as a purely economic community, cooperation has expanded in areas such as asylum, migration, justice, safety, energy, environment, and foreign policy, developing into a unique political organization.

The Swiss Government: Switzerland and its direct democracy system is one of the countries that most rely on its citizens to actually take important decisions. The Swiss people, by means of the obligatory referendum, showed their will not to join the European Economic Area16. This makes Switzerland the only EFTA state not to have

The EU is Switzerland’s main trading partner, whereas Switzerland is part of the most important EU trading partners (3rd).

Swiss merchandise exports to the EU are concentrated on a few sectors, particularly chemicals and medicinal products, machinery, instruments, and watches.

Switzerland is a very important partner of the EU for trade in services, in particular for commercial services.

ratified the EEA agreement, which extends free trade between the EEC and EFTA. Even though Switzerland does have observer status on EEA bodies, this result forced the Swiss Government into finding a solution to coexist with its neighbors while respecting the Swiss people’s will to stay independent.

Businesses and Companies: Both Swiss and European companies benefit from agreements between the EU and Switzerland. Obstacles towards accessing new markets were removed and numerous costs were reduced through standardization and harmonization. International trade has become commonplace to the extent that it is practically indispensable. Thereby, companies have become one of the stakeholders who can play an active role in addressing this future challenge.

Focus areas

The European Union has made it clear that renewing the current process of bilateral agreements would not be possible if some specific issues were not solved. The bilateral path appears to have reached its limit. It supposedly will not take long before the EU and Switzerland face an insurmountable problem.

Currently, it became harder for the Swiss Confederation to satisfy both its citizens and its obligations towards the EU. Indeed, Swiss citizens have approved several pieces of legislation that threaten not only the freedom of religion and the ban of discrimination but also the freedom of movement which is one of the main principles the European Union was based on. This is particularly problematic due to the guillotine mechanism contained in the first set of Bilateral Agreements and the result would be harmful to both the EU and Switzerland.

If Switzerland had no bilateral agreements with the EU, its position on trade would become much more disadvantageous. The EU’s more than 507 million consumers are a good customer base for Switzerland. 59.8% of Swiss citizens abroad are in the EU17 and profit from the freedom of movement that is part of the bilateral agreements I. Every single advantage gained in agriculture, research, civil aviation, overland transport and many others will be lost. The Swiss Confederation will have to go through many endless procedures to connect with its neighbors in order to profit from international cooperation.

As a solution, the EU proposes to create an institutional framework rather than having multiple sectoral agreements. The “automatism” of adopting EU laws resulting from an institutional framework is a key point of contention. Switzerland and its deep-rooted traditions of direct democracy and independence mean such as the proposal is dependent upon popular acceptance. Such acceptance has thus far not been signaled in previous votes.
Currently, both parties encounter difficulties with reaching an agreement on this matter. The situation seems to be stagnating as the concept of various bilateral agreements and an institutional framework offers little common ground for negotiation.

Bilaterals

Negotiations: Since May 2014, negotiations have been ongoing between Switzerland and the European Union. Unfortunately, after 15 meeting so far, no tangible progress has been achieved. The pending question of how exactly Article 121a of the Swiss constitution introduced by the initiative “against mass immigration”, contradicting the European Single Market’s principle of free movement of people, would be implemented further complicated matters. This matter was formally resolved in December 2016.18

EU-Swiss Relations/Future agreements: Many subjects are still in course of being treated by both parties. For example, since 2007, Switzerland has been participating in projects created to help reduce socioeconomic inequalities within the EU19. The Federal Act on cooperation with Eastern European countries expires after ten years at the end of May 2017. The Federal Council will only submit to Parliament a proposal of renewing Switzerland’s enlargement contribution only taking into account the overall context of Switzerland’s relations with the EU.

The Prime Convention’s goal is to improve cross-border police cooperation between the European Member. In order to combat international crime and terrorism effectively, the authorities would have to exchange police information quickly and efficiently. Switzerland is also seeking to conclude such agreement.

Switzerland participates in various civil and military peace missions abroad, supporting them with experts and military personnel. Cooperation with the European Union is also important in the context of peacebuilding.

Useful links

Overview released by the Swiss Confederation on legal and institutional framework

https://www.eda.admin.ch/dea/en/home/europapolitik/ueberblick/rechtlicher- institutioneller-ahmen.html

Publication by the Swiss Confederation explaining the major bilateral agreements and its impacts https://www.eda.admin.ch/content/dam/dea/en/documents/folien/Folien- Abkommen_en.pdf

Article on the EU-Swiss relations

http://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/linksdossier/eu-switzerland- relations/#ea-accordion-positions

Fact sheet on institutional issues

 

Here is the resolution we came to, which should be the best for both, Switzerland and the EU:

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION BY THE COMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS

With the EU-Swiss sectoral agreements being very static and the EU unwilling to conclude further bilateral agreements without creating an institutional framework: how should the relations between Switzerland and the EU look in the future?

Submitted by:

Claudia von Ballmoos (Gymnasium Kirchenfeld III), Isabel Balta (Collège du Sud I), Felix Dobler (Kantonsschule Seetal), Giulia Favre (Lycée Blaise-Cendrars), Johannes Hahn (Collège St. Croix), Elena Hutterli (Kantonsschule Kreuzlingen), Eric Meyer (Collège du Sud II), Céline Mottaz (Auguste Piccard), Gjon Muharremaj (Collège du Sud I), Dilara Öztürk (Chairperson, CH)

IC’s:

  1. Noting the strong emphasis Swiss citizens put on political independence which is considered to be part of their national identity,
  2. Further recalling that independence in the Swiss traditional manner is an outdated concept,
  3. Aware that Swiss nationals voted in favor of a popular initiative demanding quotas for immigrants in 2014,
  4. Taking into consideration that both Switzerland and the European Union strive to achieve common objectives whilst preserving different interests,
  5. Recognizing the need for balanced and equal negotiations concerning future dealings between Switzerland and the EU,
  6. Alarmed by the European Union’s lack of initiative in taking consequent and authoritarian actions towards Switzerland’s violation of Schengen-Dublin after the nation’s implementation of quotas for immigrants in 2014;

OC’s:

  1. Invites the Swiss Confederation to raise awareness about the impossibility of achieving full independence in today’s globalized world by the means of a media campaign which underlines Switzerland’s dependence on the international community;
  2. Recommends the creation of educational programs in Switzerland highlighting the importance of immigration and promoting the establishment of supportive policies;
  3. Further, recommends all European countries to introduce similar programs, thus also benefitting Swiss emigrants;
  4. Calls upon the European Union and the Swiss Confederation to organize regular summits joined by legal experts from several nations aimed at facilitating civil exchanges regarding political and legal developments;
  5. Suggests the establishment of institutional frameworks within the EU where Switzerland would receive equal voting status to the other Member States during the legislative process whilst maintaining its current stance of not being a Member State of the EU;
  6. Urges the European Commission to propose a legislation to continue excluding Switzerland from the full advantages of an EU-membership, such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ until a common legislative ground can be found.

Easier Version

With the EU-Swiss sectoral agreements being very static and the EU unwilling to conclude further bilateral agreements without creating an institutional framework: how should the relations between Switzerland and the EU look in the future?

What should the future relationship bet- ween the EU and Switzerland look like?

Currently, the cooperation exists on the basis of bilateral agreements that each have to be discussed and agreed upon separately. Switzerland would like to keep this system, but the EU is demand- ding an institutional framework that would make cooperation more secure. However, this framework would contain automatisms in legislation, which goes against the Swiss spirit of independence and referendums.

The committee of AFCO feels that this strong wish of independence is out-da- ted in an international community and that compromises are in order. Therefore, they want to invite Switzerland to raise awareness about this.

AFCO also encourages the creation of joint summits with both representatives and experts from Switzerland and the EU meeting on a regular basis. These summits would enable them to ex- change political, economic and legal developments, so each knows what the other is doing.

Another measure is offering Switzerland the possibility of creating an institutional framework on certain sectors only, which will enable them to keep.

 

My defense speech

Dear honorable members of the board, destinglishud guests, fellow delegates. The relationship between Switzerland and the European Union is complicated and has been discussed many times before. And that’s why it still is an extremely important topic. For both, Switzerland and the EU. This can be illustrated by the following example: In 2015 more than half (54%) of all swiss exports went to the EU. And nearly three quarters (72%) came from the EU. Since the swiss citizens refused the membership of the European Economic Area in 1992 Switzerland has organized its relationship on bilateral agreements by singing two contract packages in the past (1994 and 2005). Today this bilateral approach is being questioned by the popular vote against mass immigration and the demand fo the EU to conclude an institutaion framework agreement with Switzerland as a preconditon to all future negotiatins. The IFA’s (Instituanal Framework Agreemants) would lead to the autmoatic adopton of EU – laws withough Switzerland haviny any say in the lagislative precures of the EU. This idea has been firmly rejected vy large parts ot fhte swiss population in tis will to pererve national soversuty. Therefore EU- Swiss relationships have to be reformed draticially. Our resolution proposes measures to address these problems. Firstly by raising awareness in the siwss population for the importance of the EU market for Switzerland and the need of skilled migration though free movements of persons. Secondly by calling upon the EU and Switzerland to strengthen their mutual interests via joined summits. And most importantly by laying out the future roadmap for Swiss – EU relationships. We propose that Switzerland and the EU should complete framework agreements in certain areas in which both parties strive for harmonization – like in aviation or reduction of trade barriers. In turn for the automatic adoption of EU – laws. In these areas, Switzerland would receive an equal voice as if it were a member state. IN the legislative process to the EU in these areas. Thereby ensuring that swiss interests are taken into account. For all these mentioned reasons and for a bright future of Switzerland in Europe I invite you to support our resolution.

I just had three minutes time so unfortunately, I couldn’t write more. Also, as you know, English isn’t my mother languages so it has been not that easy to figure out a way to express myself formal. If you have any questions: ASK ME! 😉

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