Wednesday, 3 February 2010

EFTA member Switzerland outside EEA and EU

The relationship between Switzerland and the European Union is of interest to governments, businesses and residents, including expats.

Yesterday, in the Grahnlaw blog post Internal market: Switzerland at the heart of Europe? we highlighted the briefing paper commissioned by the European Parliament on the complex relationship between the European Union and Switzerland with regard to the internal market:

Christa Tobler, Jeroen Hardenbol & Balázs Mellár: Internal Market beyond the EU: EEA and Switzerland (PE 429.993; January 2010; 65 pages).

In this blog post we present references to some basic materials on Switzerland’s relations with the rest of Europe.

Switzerland is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), together with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. However, unlike the three others, Switzerland is not a part of the European Economic Area (EEA).

For a fairly updated general presentation of EFTA, see This is EFTA 2009 (January 2009; 36 pages).

The latest annual update is the 48th Annual Report of the European Free Trade Association 2008 (March 2009; 52 pages).

In English and with further links, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO offers general information about EFTA, the European Policy of Switzerland and Bilateral Agreements Switzerland – European Union.

Through the web page Bilateral agreements Switzerland-EU you can access a brochure from August 2009 with further information: Bilateral agreements Switzerland-EU (44 pages)

There is also a page with links to Other files Switzerland-EU.

For a more political Swiss view on why Switzerland remains outside both the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA), you can read the article by Werner Wüthrich: The Future Belongs to Lean Organizations like EFTA (Current Concerns No 1, January 2010).

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Sooner or later, I believe, the European Union has to become more openly and directly party political in order to be understood and approved by EU citizens.

Heralding this future of active citizens are the bilingual mirror blogs by a French PES activist: Eurosocialist in English and Eurosocialiste in French. Her motto is: A socialist view on Europe, a European view on socialism.

Eurosocialist/Eurosocialiste are listed among 522 great Euroblogs (at the latest count) on growing multilingual, your useful one-stop-shop for fact, opinion and gossip on European affairs, i.a. politics, more than thirty policy areas, communication, economics, finance, business, civil society and law.

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By the way, I also discuss European issues in Finnish on Eurooppaoikeus and in Swedish on Grahnblawg.