* Commission deadline for single energy market is 2014
* Talks on hold after Swiss immigration vote
* Switzerland's location gives it key role in energy trade
BRUSSELS, Feb 10 The European Commission has
stopped talks with Switzerland on a cross-border electricity
agreement, a spokeswoman for the EU executive said on Monday,
following the country's referendum vote to curtail immigration.
The Commission has been seeking closer power trading ties
with Switzerland to complement a common energy market for the
28-strong European Union, which it has a deadline to complete
But it said that talks with Bern about a scheme to make it
easier to trade energy could not continue without wider
"No technical negotiations on the electricity agreement
between Switzerland and the EU are foreseen for the moment,"
Commission spokeswoman Sabine Berger said. "The way forward
needs to be analysed in view of the broader context of the
Separately, senior European officials said Switzerland could
lose its privileged access to the European single market in
general following the narrow vote in the referendum on Sunday.
Free movement of people and jobs within its borders is one
of the fundamental policies of the EU, and Switzerland, while
not a member of the bloc, has participated under a pact with
Late last year, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger
had said the Commission was in intense negotiations with
Switzerland to integrate it into the bloc's single energy
Swiss participation is important for extending the common
energy market for countries such as Italy, which border
Even if the regulations on a single market can be hammered
out, the European Union still has a huge task ahead to create
all the necessary infrastructure for a single energy area.
The Commission has succeeded in encouraging a process called
market-coupling, which links together electricity exchanges and
standardises trading rules.
(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Anthony Barker)