“First we create economic relationships, then we talk about human rights,” Cassis described the way to date. But China has changed, which is why “Switzerland has to represent its interests and values more robustly, for example by strengthening international law and the multilateral system.”
More and more violations of human rights
Even the free trade agreement with China that came into force in 2014 came into being in the belief that Switzerland could “emancipate itself a little from Europe”. Now, however, Switzerland is noticing that “history is more troubled than expected”. “Human rights violations are increasing,” said Cassis. Switzerland wanted to protect these rights. And if China gave up the principle of “one country, two systems” in the case of Hong Kong, this would also affect many Swiss companies that would have invested there, the Foreign Minister warned.
In such an uncertain and complicated world, Switzerland cannot afford an unregulated relationship with the EU, the Federal Council emphasized. Especially since the country not only connects first-class economic relations with the EU, but also important common basic values, as Cassis emphasized in the interview. Therefore, should the SVP’s limitation initiative be rejected, he assumes that Switzerland will make proposals in Brussels before the end of the year to solve the controversial points in the framework agreement, it was told to the “SonntagsBlick”.