LALIVE Partner, Nicolas Ollivier, discussed the contemplated UK-Swiss bilateral agreement on financial services at the BIICL webinar on Swiss-UK Bilateral Relations outside EU Membership – alongside keynote speaker, his Excellency Mr. Alexandre Fasel, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United Kingdom.

30 April 2021

Brexit has led to a new triangle of legal relations in Europe outside of EU membership: UK-EU; Swiss-EU; and UK-Swiss.

The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. After 47 years of a special relationship within the EU, the Withdrawal Agreement and new Trade and Cooperation Agreement represent a transition back to international treaty law relations.

By contrast, Switzerland has never been a Member State of the European Union. As an alternative to EEA membership, bilateral agreements have been the vehicle for Swiss-EU relations. Whilst Europe was gripped by Brexit, relations between the EU and Switzerland also developed. In December 2018, the text of a new ‘Draft Framework Agreement’ was published.

In the bilateral relations between Switzerland and the UK, a series of follow-up agreements negotiated with the UK as part of Switzerland’s Mind the Gap strategy (including Mind the Gap+) have replaced the CH-EU agreements. Switzerland and the UK have also shaped their future cooperation in other areas, including financial services and migration as well as innovation.

This event, convened by Professor Eva Lein, Senior Research Fellow in Private International Law and Director, Centre for Comparative Law, BIICL – considered the new dynamics in the legal relations between Switzerland and the UK. Speakers from the Swiss and UK diplomatic and legal communities provided information about the new arrangements and identified key contemporary legal issues and academic questions that will provide a springboard for future debate.

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