EU set to grant Swiss stock exchanges access to EU market for one year

BRUSSELS, Dec 19 (Reuters) - The European Union is set to grant Switzerland’s stock exchanges access to the bloc’s internal market for one year, EU sources said, in a move aimed at putting pressure on Bern to clinch an overall deal on its relations with the EU.

EU states will vote on Wednesday on a proposal by the executive European Commission to recognise shares trading on the SIX Swiss Exchange and BX Swiss as equivalent to exchanges based in the 28-country bloc.

If they back the proposal, as EU officials expect, the Commission will temporarily allow EU investors to access the Swiss exchanges and vice-versa. That will avoid disruption after new MiFID II market rules come into force on Jan. 3.

The Commission had initially proposed the open-ended adoption of equivalence for the Swiss exchanges, in line with a deal on U.S. trading venues, documents seen by Reuters showed .

But Switzerland’s reluctance to sign an overall deal on its relations with the EU, of which it is a close partner but not a member, pushed the Commission to review the offer on trading venues, EU sources said.

“Recognising equivalence for one year makes a lot of sense,” a Commission official said, adding that this would avoid disruption and allow for a general deal by the end of next year on Switzerland’s access to the EU market.

The so-called “institutional agreement” under negotiation between Bern and Brussels would give Switzerland easier access to the EU’s single market of more than 400 million people. In exchange, Switzerland would more closely align with EU rules and make broader commitments to the block. (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Catherine Evans)