Switzerland–UK relations post Brexit

Swiss and UK flags
Swiss and UK flags: the UK's withdrawal from the EU has an impact on relations with Switzerland. © FDFA

Following the UK's withdrawal from the EU on 31 January 2020, a transition period will apply until the end of 2020. During this period, the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU will continue to apply to the UK. With its Mind the Gap strategy, the Federal Council aims to ensure legal continuity beyond Brexit. This will safeguard and, where possible, extend existing mutual rights and obligations. 

The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. The UK's withdrawal marked the beginning of a transition period until 31 December 2020, during which the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU continue to apply to the UK. A new set of bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the UK will apply thereafter.

As part of its Mind the Gap strategy, Switzerland concluded at an early stage a series of new agreements with the UK in the areas of trade, migration, road and air transport and insurance. The aim of this Mind the Gap strategy is to safeguard existing mutual rights and obligations as far as possible. In a second step, cooperation between Switzerland and the UK is to be expanded beyond the current level where this is in the interests of both sides (Mind the Gap+).

Chronology

  • 31.12.2020: End of the transition period
  • 31.01.2020: UK withdrawal from the EU
  • 31.10.2019: Signing of a provisional agreement on the coordination of social security schemes
  • 10.07.2019: Signing of a provisional agreement on mutual access to the labour market and a memorandum of understanding on police cooperation 
  • 25.02.2019: Signing of the citizens' rights agreement 
  • 11.02.2019: Signing of the trade agreement
  • 25.01.2019: Signing of the insurance agreement and the overland transport agreement
  • 17.12.2018: Signing of the air transport agreement
  • 29.03.2017: Initiation by the UK of the withdrawal process from the EU under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (date originally set for withdrawal: 29.03.2019)
  • 19.10.2016: Adoption of Mind the Gap strategy by the Federal Council 
  • 23.06.2016: UK's referendum on withdrawal from the EU (leave: 51.9%)