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October 16, 2018

A EUROPEAN Union military force is more likely to be set up after Brexit because the UK would not be there to oppose it, A Swiss diplomat said today.
The European Union currently has no official military force but German chancellor Angela Merkel has supported an idea by French premier Emmanuel Macron to create one in a shake-up at the EU.
“The EU may be more able to do it once the UK is not in,” Swiss ambassador to Britain Alexandre Fasel told a meeting at Cardiff University to discuss the future for the UK outside the EU, organised by the Wales Governance Centre.
Switzerland is not a member of the EU and has maintained neutrality in two world wars, despite being located between Germany and France, but has always resolutely defended its own borders using a very active slimmed-down army with compulsory military service for fit and able-bodied men.
A right of centre populist party holds power and an increasingly Euro-sceptic populace voted to clamp down on mass immigration and strengthen rules for foreign criminals who commit violent or sexual offences yet they have signed agreements with Brussels to accept free movement in exchange for staying in the EU’s single market.
Switzerland – our 10th largest export market globally and third largest in the EU with 150 flights daily between the two countries – is currently in talks with the UK to safeguard trade after Brexit. Both countries have retained their currencies, the pound and the Swiss Franc, and wrestle with the dilemma of trying to stay in a European single market for goods but somehow not lose their sovereignty and their right to control immigration.
Mr Fasel said that both a no deal Brexit and a Chequers-style deal with the EU would be “damage limitation” for the UK but he admitted that questions and doubts about membership of the EU persist and he hinted that further anti-EU activity was likely when he said that Brexit was “not going to stop”.
He said that Switzerland finds itself in a “permanent negotiation” in an asymmetrical relationship with the EU, which he said was “constitutionally inflexible when it is about the fundamentals” of free movement of workers, goods, services and capital.
He was not asked how Switzerland would view a disunited kingdom if after Brexit Scotland and Wales attempt to gain independence.

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