THE FINAL PHASE – How do you recognize when a negotiation has reached the final phase?


How do you recognize when a negotiation has reached the final phase?

Switzerland’s negotiations with the EU on the so-called “framework agreement” (Rahmenabkommen) have been led for 8 years. For the past 2 years, Switzerland has presented a decision on the table, which is now finally being negotiated with the EU.
Politicians from both parties have been calling for an end to the negotiations for years and an end to the uncertainty. Now, it is really becoming “final”.

The final phase is recognized by:
1. Both sides agreeing on strict secrecy
2. Both sides send the A-Team to the negotiation table
3. Both sides agree on a deadline

When reaching the final phase of the negotiations on the “framework agreement”, confidentiality has been agreed by both sides. This secrecy is necessary to address creative solutions, testing possible options and to present proposals, without loss of face. If proposals were made public, they would be met with negative criticism.
The importance for the final phase can be seen in the establishment of the A-Team. The best people are sent to the negotiating table in small teams, with a clear mandate and clear boundaries. Switzerland is sending Livia Leu, a top diplomat with an abundance of experience in difficult negotiations. The EU has removed Stephanie Riso from the Brexit negotiations and added her to negotiate with Switzerland; she is considered a close confidante of Ursula von der Leyen.
It is evident that a the negotiating teams have set a deadline. This deadline is not publicly known, which removes the pressure of expectations and creates more room for manoeuvres.

Will the negotiations on the “framework agreement” end with an agreement?
At least now, for the first time in 8 years, negotiations are taking place and are being taken seriously.

See the interview with Matthias Schranner in the SRF 1 “Club”.




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