Switzerland creates special 24-hour Brexit helpline

By on 27/06/2016 | Updated on 24/09/2020
Johann Niklaus Schneider-Ammann is president of the Swiss Confederation

The government of Switzerland has tasked a team of civil servants with answering questions by Swiss citizens about the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Britain on Thursday voted 52% to 48% in favour of a Brexit.

Following the result, which sent shockwaves across Britain and the EU, the Swiss government said in a statement released on Friday that while “current regulations regarding Swiss citizens and companies will remain valid for the time being, there is a high level of demand for information from Swiss citizens in Switzerland and abroad.”

Therefore, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) has made additional staff available on the FDFA Helpline to answer calls regarding the impact of the UK’s decision on Swiss citizens.

The FDFA Helpline, which is available around the clock including at weekends, can be reached for free from Switzerland on 0 800 24-7-365 and on 0041800 24-7-365 from abroad at a charge.

Swiss citizens living in the UK can also call the Swiss embassy in London for Brexit-related questions on 0207 616 6080.

Johann Niklaus Schneider-Ammann, president of the Swiss Confederation, told a press conference on Friday that the Swiss government had created a cross-departmental working group to prepare for a Brexit.

Britain’s departure from the EU, he added, will affect Switzerland which sees Britain as an important trading partner.

The relationship between both countries will have to be stipulated anew, he said, including in areas such as free trade, air traffic, migration and collaboration on the economy, tax and security.

These negotiations will start once Brexit has been completed – which, Schneider-Ammann said, is likely going to happen within two years.

Following the British electorate’s decision to leave the EU, UK prime minister David Cameron tendered his resignation and said he would leave office as soon as a new Conservative party leader is elected by October the latest.

Discussions are now underway as to when official Brexit negotiations should start, which has to be triggered by invoking Article 50 direction of the Lisbon Treaty.

The Leave Campaign would like to see more informal negotiations carried out before official proceedings are started. However, Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel has today ruled out any possibility of informal talks on Britain leaving the EU before it files formal notice of its intention to go.


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See also:

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Sir Paul Jenkins, former UK Treasury Solicitor: EU Referendum interview

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About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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