Brussels shamed after threatening Switzerland’s electricity: ‘Like cutting out heart!’ | World | News

Switzerland currently faces the threat of being decoupled from the European electricity market. It comes as Brussels looks to bring the country to heel after negotiations to further integrate Switzerland into the bloc collapsed. In May, Swiss officials refused to sign an overarching agreement governing almost all of its relations and connections with the EU.

Now, the things Switzerland has shared with the EU, like electricity, risk being pushed on to the EU-Swiss battleground.

With no agreement, the Swiss won’t be allowed to participate in the EU’s so-called power-market coupling.

In addition, from 1 July, its certificates of origin – that show whether electricity was bought from a renewable source – won’t be accepted by the bloc.

Bloomberg noted that the increasingly fraught relations with Brussels are beginning to “spook the Swiss”, leading to fears that electricity supplies could be cut short.

Large-scale power outages remain a real but minor reality.

But concern is mounting that the standoff with the EU will eventually trickle down to Swiss people, resulting in higher costs for residents and businesses.

Switzerland plays a key role in the EU’s electricity system through the clean energy it produces and the power that passes through its borders.

By being excluded, Swissgrid AG says its network, which connects to those of neighbouring countries in 41 places through giant power cables, will become less stable over time.

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It relies on these sources of energy in the winter months when demand spikes.

Switzerland’s energy producers are now hoping for a technical accord with the bloc.

This is even if it doesn’t settle the broader matter of market access.

In May, Bern ended years of talks with the EU aimed at agreeing an overarching treaty.

While Switzerland is not in the bloc, it has signed up to many of its policies, like freedom of movement.

The relationship is made up of more than 120 bilateral deals with the EU keen on combining these under one roof.

The rejection led an editorial in the Financial Times to conclude that Switzerland will now likely undergo a “slow-motion Swexit“.

It noted: “The consequences of Bern’s decision to junk talks with the EU will be a gradual degradation in its market access.”

Opponents of the framework in Switzerland argue that the alignment of rules with the EU would have overturned Switzerland’s system of local and direct democracy.

However, it has been noted that the country has absorbed EU rules for decades, enjoying practically full integration in the single market.

A study in BertelsmannStiftung, suggested Switzerland benefits more from the bloc per capita than any EU country.

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