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.

SNSF position on the Self-Determination Initiative

On 25 November 2018, Switzerland will vote on the initiative "Swiss law, not foreign judges" (Self-Determination Initiative). This initiative aims to enshrine in the Constitution that Swiss law will always take precedence over international laws. The only exception would be binding international law.

In the event of a conflict between international law and any new Swiss law, Switzerland would have to withdraw from the corresponding international agreements. The so-called 'guillotine clause' could jeopardise the bilateral agreements, which have a direct bearing on research in Switzerland. In particular the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons, including researchers, and the research agreements with the EU would be at risk.

The Swiss National Science Foundation fears that the Self-Determination Initiative would cause instability and legal uncertainty. This would be detrimental to research and innovation in Switzerland and could have serious repercussions for the economy and our prosperity. For this reason, the SNSF rejects the initiative.

Institutional framework agreement between Switzerland and the EU

Switzerland and the European Union are seeking to negotiate an institutional framework agreement that is expected to lay a solid foundation for future relations. The agreement is particularly important for Switzerland because it will simplify and guarantee access to the EU's single market, among other benefits.

The SNSF is in favour of such a framework agreement because it will create legal certainty and strengthen Switzerland's position as a reliable partner in international cooperation. Researchers in Switzerland rely on straightforward international exchanges and multilateral net-working with other countries and must have the chance to compete with the best scientific minds.

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