Signing of two agreements on the law applicable to enterprises participating in CERN activities

Bern, Press release, 18.10.2010

On 18 October 2010, Ambassador Valentin Zellweger, Director of the Directorate for Public International Law of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, signed on behalf of the Federal Council a bilateral agreement with France, as well as a trilateral agreement with France and the CERN, for determining the law applicable both to enterprises active at the CERN site and to their personnel.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is based in Geneva. Its site is located on both Swiss and French territory. In 1965, Switzerland and France signed a convention governing the modalities for extending CERN activities into French territory. In keeping with the principle of territoriality, as confirmed in that agreement, the CERN site situated on Swiss territory is subject to Swiss law, while French law applies the CERN site situated on French territory.  

In carrying out its projects, the CERN calls upon the services of numerous enterprises, which furnish those services on both the Swiss and the French sectors of the CERN site. As a result, they are obliged to apply simultaneously two different legal regimes while performing the services of a single contract – a situation which gives rise to substantial practical difficulties.  

In order to resolve these difficulties, Switzerland and France have now signed an agreement amending the Convention of 1965. It provides that any enterprise which concludes a contract for services with the CERN shall apply to its employees the legal provisions applicable to posted workers in the host country on whose territory the major part of the services to be performed under the contract is foreseen. Accordingly, in the legal domains in question, the enterprise will apply a single legal regime, regardless of the location of the working place of each individual employee. The remaining legal domains will remain subject to the principle of territoriality. An agreement between Switzerland, France and the CERN governs the modalities for the application of this principle.  

Both of the agreements that were signed on 18 October 2010 will be submitted to the two Chambers of the Federal Assembly for approval.

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