European policy

The SNSF wants Switzerland to remain a reliable partner in research, education and innovation. European research collaborations bolster science and the economy. This benefits all persons living in Switzerland.

Institutional framework agreement between Switzerland and the EU

Switzerland and the European Union are currently negotiating a framework agreement that will lay a solid foundation for future relations. The agreement is particularly important for Switzerland because it facilitates and guarantees barrier-free access to the EU's single market, among other benefits.

The SNSF is in favour of such a framework agreement as it will create legal certainty and strengthen Switzerland's position as a reliable partner in international cooperation. Researchers in Switzerland rely on unhindered international exchanges and multilateral networking with other countries, and being able to compete with the best scientific minds is essential to their success.

The SNSF believes that legal uncertainty in dealings with the EU could harm Swiss research. This would have a negative impact on Swiss innovation and throttle the economy, which is vital to job creation and prosperity.

Within the scope of the review phase for the institutional framework agreement, the Federal Council has invited the SNSF to provide a statement in March 2019. You will find it at the link below.

SNSF position on the Self-Determination Initiative 2018

On 25 November 2018, Switzerland voted on the initiative "Swiss law, not foreign judges" (Self-Determination Initiative). This initiative aimed to enshrine in the Constitution that Swiss law would always take precedence over international laws. Only binding international law would have been exempted.

In the event of a conflict between international law and any new Swiss law, Switzerland would have had to withdraw from the corresponding international agreements. And because of the so-called 'guillotine clause', the bilateral agreements, might also have been jeopardised, with direct repercussions for Swiss research. This would have put at risk, in particular, the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons, including researchers, and the research agreements with the EU.

The Swiss National Science Foundation feared that the Self-Determination Initiative would lead to instability and legal uncertainty. This would have been detrimental to the Swiss economy and Switzerland's prosperity.