After years of talks, Switzerland has scrapped efforts aimed at agreeing an over-arching treaty with the EU.
Switzerland is not in the European Union but has signed up to many of its policies, such as freedom of movement.
The relationship is currently governed by more than 120 bilateral deals, and a failure to replace them with one framework deal could harm ties.
“We regret this decision, given the progress that has been made over the last years,” the EU Commission said.
The EU-Switzerland free trade agreement dates back to 1972.
The Commission – the executive body for the EU’s 27 member states – said that without an EU-Swiss framework agreement, modernising that relationship would not be possible. Existing deals were “not up to speed” and the impact of Switzerland’s decision would have to be analysed, it warned.
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