DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, Federal Councillor of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland, welcomes the participants at the Annual Meeting 2007 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 24, 2007. Copyright by World Economic Forum swiss-image.ch/Photo by +++No resale, no archive+++ Image: World Economic Forum

The former Swiss president has said the UK and Switzerland should work together to find a solution to the freedom of movement with access to the single market.

Micheline Calmy-Rey said that Britain and her country had something in common, as they both want to build good relationship with the European Union, freedom of movement in Europe and resolve migration issues.

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Calmy-Rey said: “You have one vision [in the EU] which wants more integration, more solidarity with migrants, more freedom of movement and more integration of economic policies, of fiscal policies, and you have other countries that do not want all of that.

"If the European Union doesn't want to take the risk of exploding we have to take into account these two visions and perhaps find a third way”.

UK prime minster Theresa May and Chancellor Phillip Hammond have said in the past about have their own ‘bespoke’ trade deal with the EU, but Ms Calmy-Rey thought Britain and her country should stick together through negotiations.

She said: “I think we could collaborate together - it would be fruitful”.

Switzerland rejected membership of the European Economic Area in 1992, but has its own bilateral trade deals with the EU which enable them to participate in the union’s single market.

Britain has received a number of warnings from senior banking executives suggesting that investment banking revenues in London would be strongly affected if the UK doesn’t adopt similar agreements once it leaves the EU.

Switzerland, the EU’s fourth largest trading partner, voted in their own referendum in 2014 to introduce quotas for all migrants in Switzerland, which potentially violates one of their agreements with the EU on free movement.

However, the European Commission has since then refused to enter negotiations on this topic, which has caused the Swiss parliament to take a unilateral approach and discussions about implementing a new vote.