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Switzerland’s Position in Europe and the World


Bernauer, Thomas; Walter, Stefanie (2023). Switzerland’s Position in Europe and the World. In: Emmenegger, Patrick; Fossati, Flavia; Häusermann, Silja; Papadopoulos, Yannis; Sciarini, Pascal; Vatter, Adrian. The Oxford handbook of Swiss politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 94-115.

Abstract

Global economic integration and global political restraint—this fine balance has characterized Switzerland’s relationship with the international community since the Swiss federal state was founded in 1848. Geopolitical change and crises, globalization, and the European integration process, however, have increasingly challenged this traditional model of Swiss foreign relations. With its entry into the UN (2002) and two sets of bilateral treaties with the EU (2000, 2005) Switzerland has taken significant steps towards a stronger political involvement in the international arena, even if a clear majority of Swiss voters, parliament, and the government remain opposed to EU membership. This chapter situates Switzerland in the global economy and in international politics. It begins by contextualizing Switzerland in its international environment and comparing it with its neighbours as well as some additional countries. The chapter then shows that Switzerland is one of the most ‘globalized’, i.e., most open countries in the world. Finally, it shows that the political system of Switzerland has slowly but noticeably reacted to European as well as the global political and economic changes of the recent past. Nevertheless, in respect of foreign policy, voters remain divided into two camps; these camps view the implications of increasing integration into the European and global arena very differently, in particular with regard to the consequences for sovereignty, neutrality, federalism, and direct democracy. This division generates considerable political controversies about the challenges Switzerland faces.

Abstract

Global economic integration and global political restraint—this fine balance has characterized Switzerland’s relationship with the international community since the Swiss federal state was founded in 1848. Geopolitical change and crises, globalization, and the European integration process, however, have increasingly challenged this traditional model of Swiss foreign relations. With its entry into the UN (2002) and two sets of bilateral treaties with the EU (2000, 2005) Switzerland has taken significant steps towards a stronger political involvement in the international arena, even if a clear majority of Swiss voters, parliament, and the government remain opposed to EU membership. This chapter situates Switzerland in the global economy and in international politics. It begins by contextualizing Switzerland in its international environment and comparing it with its neighbours as well as some additional countries. The chapter then shows that Switzerland is one of the most ‘globalized’, i.e., most open countries in the world. Finally, it shows that the political system of Switzerland has slowly but noticeably reacted to European as well as the global political and economic changes of the recent past. Nevertheless, in respect of foreign policy, voters remain divided into two camps; these camps view the implications of increasing integration into the European and global arena very differently, in particular with regard to the consequences for sovereignty, neutrality, federalism, and direct democracy. This division generates considerable political controversies about the challenges Switzerland faces.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Economic and Political Integration, Globalization, Global Economy, International, European Union, European Integration, Foreign Policy, Neutrality
Language:English
Date:18 December 2023
Deposited On:03 Jan 2024 09:20
Last Modified:04 Jan 2024 06:43
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISBN:9780192871787
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780192871787.013.2