Swiss Withdraw EU Application: Only ‘Lunatics’ Would Join Now

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Switzerland has formally withdrawn her long-standing application to join the European Union (EU), as only “a few lunatics” now want to be involved with the bloc. The verdict comes just one week before Britons go to the polls to decide on whether to retain their membership of the political union. Twenty-seven members of the Council of States, Switzerland’s upper house, voted in favour of cancelling the application, against 13 who opposed the motion. Two abstained, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung has reported. The vote ratifies an earlier vote held by Parliamentarians in the lower house in March, which saw the motion to withdraw the application agreed to with an overwhelming majority of 126 in favour, 46 against. In response to the federal vote, Switzerland’s foreign minister Didier Burkhalter confirmed that his country will now give formal notice to the EU to consider the Swiss application officially withdrawn. Switzerland’s application to join the European Economic Area, the precursor to the EU, was lodged in 1992, but a referendum held the same year on the matter saw the Swiss people narrowly turned down the prospect of closer ties to the bloc, putting the application on ice. It has never been seriously revived in the