Once Switzerland has finally taken a stand and is ready to renegotiate the institutional framework agreement, there is a risk of delay on the EU side: Stefano Sannino, the European counterpart of Swiss Secretary of State Livia Leu, is about to be promoted. The Italian will soon be named the top official in the EU’s External Action Service (EAD), as various sources have confirmed to “CH Media”. We do not yet know who will be his successor.
Saninno becomes secretary general of the EEAS and therefore deputy of the foreign affairs representative Josep Borrell. He succeeds Helga Schmid of Germany, who will become the head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) and will inherit Thomas Greminger of Switzerland, who was not re-elected in July after political disputes.
It is not known how the change in personnel will affect the timetable for negotiations with Switzerland. Sannino and his team are officially responsible for the technical level, while political issues are handled in the office of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The deciding factor will be whether the European Commission is even involved in substantial negotiations with Switzerland. So far, the position in Brussels has been that there is nothing more to negotiate with the draft treaty which has been in place since the end of 2018. However, clarifications and specifications can be made within a deadline. very short. Still, observers on both sides assume it will take several rounds of talks.
There are reports that Secretary of State Leu wants to meet with Brussels for the first time next week. It is about explaining what Switzerland wants to achieve in the three open points of State aid, wage protection and the Union citizens’ directive.