Former Swiss ambassador: freedom of movement a post-Brexit make or break

Author: Jimmie Franklin | Published: 4 Dec 2019

Alexis Lautenberg, former head of the economic policy department at the Swiss Foreign Ministry and then ambassador to the EU, knows better than most the benefits of a significant relationship between the trading bloc and a European third country. With uncertainty still plaguing Britain, IFLR's EMEA reporter spoke to Lautenberg (now working with Covington and Burling) about his experience, how the UK could manage a more or less workable exit and what can be reasonably expected from member states in view of the next phase of the process.

How was your experience negotiating with the European Union?

After the Swiss people voted down Switzerland’s participation in the European Economic Area's Agreement in 1992 by a vote of 50.3% to 49.7%, there was no plan B. A membership application that had been tabled earlier in that year with all likeliness led Brussels to believe that it would be worth reaching...