Ausschnitte aus Bericht über die Stellung der Schweiz im europäischen Integrationsprozess

2.12    Ausschnitte aus Bericht über die Stellung der Schweiz im europäischen Integrationsprozess vom 24. August 1988, BBL 1988 III, 131-132, Aussenpolitischer Bericht 2000, BBL. Nr. 6/2001, 261, Europabericht 2006 vom 28. Juni 2006, BBL. Nr. 35/2005, 6815 ff.

[Excerpts from the report of the position of Switzerland in the process of European Integration of August 24, 1988; Report on Foreign Policy 2000; Report on Europe 2006]

a) Background

The Swiss Government regularly published reports on Swiss-EU relations for discussion and debate in parliament. The three governmental reports at hand are excerpts of the Integrationsbericht 1988 (Report on Integration of 1988), of the Aussenpolitischer Bericht 2000 (Report on Foreign Policy of 2000) and the Europabericht 2006 (Report on Europe of 2006). The excerpts of the reports are short. The reports are accessible to the public since they are published as official documents in French, German and Italian however they have not been translated into English. The reports were prepared by specialists within the Federal Administration under the leadership and guidance of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. They were circulated to other interested departments and at times amended taking into account of their wishes. It has to be noted that the monopoly of the Department of Foreign Affairs – and earlier duopoly with the Department of Federal Economy – has changed in the past years. It is now the sole responsibility of the Department of Foreign Affairs, essentially weakening the cause of integration within the government.
In the meantime other aspects of European policy are being treated in a decentralized and sometimes uncoordinated manner. The major issues at the back of the political agenda are: should there be a reactivation of the existing application for full membership and should this issue be brought again as a vote before the people and the cantons? At this moment in time, for reasons of unsettled identity and of unclear majorities, it seems unlikely that this will be the case. In the past, the issues have become more pressing again, since the route chosen after the failure to accede the EEA agreement seems to become difficult and may even come to an end. The so called “bilateral route” is put into question and renewed voices outside of the government demand that the issue of full Swiss membership – or other forms of closer association – should be once again brought  into the media and the political dialogue.

b) Summary

a/a) Über die Stellung der Schweiz im europäischen Integrationsprozess vom 24. August 1988, BBL 1988 III, 131-132

The 1988 report was the first report on European integration, following the adoption of the Single European Act in 1988, initiating the extensive internal market programme. The report essentially adopted the policy of euro-compatibility of Swiss legislation, and the need to avoid new and additional trade barriers for Swiss exports. It emphasised the need for stronger integration of Switzerland, yet without proposing membership to the then European Communities.

a/b) Page excerpt from the Aussenpolitische Bericht 2000 – Präsenz und Kooperation: Die Interessenwahrung in einer zusammenwachsenden Welt, BBL, Nr. 6/201, 261;

The report was issued at the time when EU membership was still Switzerland’s prime policy in European integration, one year after the successful conclusion of a first series of new bilateral agreements in 1999. The excerpt deals with the next steps on the way to a full membership of Switzerland in the EU. It addresses the topics of preparation of negotiations, reactivation of the bid for membership, preparation of the negotiations and full decision. The excerpt lists the conditions to be met, which have been discussed in parliament at the time of the decision-making process concerning the popular initiative “Ja zu Europa.” The three conditions are an overview on the experiences with the implementation of the bilateral treaties.

(1) An analysis of the effects of full membership on the areas of federalism, popular rights, organisation of government, organisation of finances, economic and currency policy, foreigners and migration policy, agriculture as well as foreign and security policy. The Federal Council states where they stand with regards these areas.

(2) At the same time the Federal Council declares its willingness to further minimize the transaction costs, to analyse the existing possibilities of extension and modernisation of the treaty network between Switzerland and the EU and – where necessary – to strengthen the Euro-compatibility of Swiss law and Swiss politics.

(3) The third condition is that a broad domestic policy support of integration by the Federal Council has to be genuine and visible. The Federal Council states that it is unlikely that the negotiations for accession will be started in the ongoing four-year period of legislation.

a/c) Europabericht 2006 of 28 June 2006, BBL 35/205, pp. 6815 ongoing., excerpt 9 pages


The Federal Council, in a report on the 2nd February 2004 during the period of the legislation 2003 to 2007, announced that the institutional analysis on the effects of a potential accession of Switzerland to the European Union had to be reassessed in view of the positive results of two popular votes concerning issues of European policy; that is, the association to the Schengen/Dublin treaty on the 5th June and the extension of the liberty of movement to new member states of the EU in September 2005. The report shifts the attention away from membership and institutional issues and defines European policy as interest policy to be pursued with appropriate means. The report laid the foundations for a long-standing stalemate. Ever since 2004 no new agreements were concluded except for cooperation in competition policy on grounds that the EU’s demand for an improved institutional architecture comprising both international judicial review and monitoring was not actively taken upon until 2012.

c) Text

You can find a scan (PDF) of the original text here:
E_2.12_BBL 1988 III, 131-2


© Prof. Jens Drolshammer,,

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