The scope of the framework agreement is limited to the five existing bilateral market access agreements (free movement of people, removal of technical barriers to trade, land, air and agricultural transport) and all future market access agreements. The internal consultation process has shown that the current version of the framework agreement does not enjoy broad support. The easing of wage protection, public subsidies and ambiguities regarding the EU Citizenship Directive, which creates additional rights for EU citizens in the area of social assistance and family reunification, are particularly criticised. Another highly controversial issue is the dispute settlement procedure, which aims to settle disputes between EU and Swiss law, and the dynamic adoption of the law requiring Switzerland to permanently adopt new EU legislation. However, contrary to what opponents of the agreement claim, this is not an automatic adoption of EU law, as Switzerland can decide separately on any adoption of EU law within the framework of the proposed legal development mechanism and the constitutional rights still respected – the referendum option is therefore fully preserved. Surrounded by four EU member states – Germany, Austria, Italy and France – Switzerland has bilateral relations with the EU, which means that the EU and Switzerland negotiate separate agreements on various issues. On 22 December 2016, Switzerland and the EU reached an agreement under which a new Swiss law (in response to the referendum) would require Swiss employers to hire job seekers (Swiss nationals or not registered in Swiss employment agencies) while observing the free movement of EU citizens to Switzerland so that they can work there.  At the end of the deadline, the EU, which has been seeking a framework agreement for a decade, has stepped up its threat to end the recognition of Swiss stock market rules, allowing EU investors to negotiate in Switzerland. The framework agreement, a cornerstone of relations with the EU, Switzerland, participated in the negotiations of the EEA agreement with the EU and signed it on 2 May 1992 and applied for EU membership on 20 May 1992.
In a Swiss referendum on 6 December 1992, membership of the EEA was rejected. Subsequently, the Swiss government suspended EU accession negotiations until further notice. By ratifying the second round of bilateral agreements, the Federal Council in 2006 lowered the characterisation of Switzerland`s full adherence to a “strategic objective” to an “option”. Membership continued to be the government`s objective and a “long-term goal” of the Federal Council until 2016, when Switzerland`s request, which had been frozen, was withdrawn.   The request was adopted in June by the Council of States and then by the Bundesrat.    In a letter dated 27 July, the Federal Council informed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union that it was withdrawing its request.  In 2004, a new set of sectoral agreements (called “bilateral II”) was signed, including Switzerland`s participation in Schengen and Dublin, as well as agreements on the taxation of savings, processed agricultural products, statistics, anti-fraud, participation in the European Union programme and the Environment Agency.