President of the Confederation Alain Berset (Social Democratic Party, since 2018)
Population 8,414,794
Size 41,285 km2 (15,920 sq mi)
Next legislative election 2019
Last meeting with Theresa May 24 January 2018
Relationship with UK The UK and Switzerland share an interest in what a post-Brexit deal might look like, as both want to cooperate closely with the EU on, for example trade and security, but also seek to curb free movement and budget commitments.

Switzerland is a member of European Free Trade Association, but does not take part in the European Economic Area. It will have an interest in either the UK joining the EFTA or to forge a bilateral trade agreement with the UK.

Switzerland’s agreement with the EU was previously seen as an example for the UK in forging its future relationship with the bloc.

What Ms Leuthard said on Brexit 27 February 2017

“For me, it’s not a positive. A strong EU is important for Switzerland. The EU states are our most important trading partners. One has to respect that Britain is taking another path. It will be a very long time before the consequences are readily apparent. I do think it’s positive, however, that a discussion about the situation in the EU is being held and people are having to think about which reforms are needed. That’s not a bad thing for Switzerland because it shows that you have to let citizens get involved. Brussels will certainly have to grant concessions to individual member states so that the EU – and Europe as a whole – stays strong and stable.”

Switzerland’s priorities Switzerland works together closely with the EU through the EFTA, but has lately been occupied with the issue of free movement of people as a member of the EU’s passport free travel area. Discussions between the EU and Switzerland emerged after a referendum in 2014 that introduced immigration quotas into the Swiss constitution. As a consensus, the Swiss Parliament adopted a bill that gives priority to Swiss-based job seekers, but leaves out quotas on EU citizens.

Another thing Switzerland is focused on is corporate tax, as pressure from the EU and OECD has increased to address its preferential tax system. A referendum on Corporate Tax Reform III was held on 12 February 2017, where it was rejected by the public. The Government will now return to the drawing board of this bill.

Politicians are also looking to organise a referendum on a burqa ban after the upper house of parliament voted the proposal down.

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