As a small economy, Switzerland is dependent on good market access to the EU, especially since more than half of all Swiss exports go to Europe. And more than half (55%) of pharmaceutical exports also go to other European countries. Bilateral Agreements I made market access substantially easier thanks to the dismantling of technical trade barriers. The agreement on the freedom of movement for people is also key, because the recruitment of qualified specialists at every level not only in the EU, but also globally, is crucial for a great many industries, and especially for the research-based pharmaceutical industry. The workforce potential for this is too small in Switzerland alone.
PRAGMATIC IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MASS IMMIGRATION INITIATIVE
The vote in favour of the mass immigration initiative on 9 February 2014 puts the bilateral agreements as a whole at stake. These agreements are crucial for the research-based pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland. Interpharma advocates for a pragmatic implementation of the initiative, the primary objective of which must be to preserve the Bilateral Agreements I.
In parallel with these efforts, Interpharma seeks to feel the pulse of the general public on relations between Switzerland and the EU and to increase awareness of the importance of good relations with our European neighbours. With this in mind, Interpharma again commissioned the research institute gfs.bern in April and May 2016 to conduct a representative opinion poll on the relations of Switzerland with the EU, the results of which were prominently reported on in the media. Two series of polls had already been conducted in 2015, which were likewise taken up by numerous media outlets.
In collaboration with swissuniversities and cantonal chambers of commerce, Interpharma also launched a roadshow with which the pharmaceutical industry and universities engage in dialogue with stakeholders and interested members of the general public on issues around Switzerland as a pharmaceutical and research hub as well as the importance of the bilateral accords. During this roadshow, representatives from the worlds of politics, business and research discuss the importance of good relations with Europe. The first stop was Lucerne in September for a stakeholder event. Both a stakeholder event and a public evening event were held in Zurich on 21 November. In this coming year further events will follow in Solothurn, Zug, Lausanne and Fribourg.