Swiss president Johann Schneider-Ammann said “This decision affects your country directly and indirectly.”
Firstly, relations between Switzerland and the UK will need to be redrawn. This will not happen today, but once the UK formally leaves, in around two years time. The current rules for people and companies will stay in place until further notice.
Switzerland remains very keen to maintain close relations with the UK, a very important partner, particularly economically.
An interdepartmental working group, which has been working for several weeks on the possibility of a Brexit vote, will intensify its efforts.
In addition to economic relations he said “I think agreements on a number of other themes, such as air transport, free movement of people, scientific cooperation, tax and security, that up until now have been governed by Bilateral EU agreements I and II, will require a new framework.”
Secondly, following today’s result, the Swiss federal council is still very determined to continue discussions with the EU on how to implement article 121a of the Swiss constitution, referring to the February 2014 vote to control mass immigration. The EU had signaled that it was ready to intensify discussions after the Brexit vote.
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The president said: “It is clear that finding a solution is now more difficult after the UK’s decision to leave the EU. It is however, pointless to speculate on the effects of this decision, although progress is not expected over the summer.”
Thirdly, the UK’s decision will add to doubts on Europe’s economic prospects. This will impact negatively on the Swiss economy, on top of the economic impact of the challenges of finding a solution with the EU on immigration.
The federal council will follow the impact of today’s news on the Swiss franc exchange rate, which you have certainly seen in the markets this morning. This adds further pressure to Switzerland’s exporters. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is in charge of monetary policy however the federal council is in close contact with the SNB.