Dieter FreiburghausSechzig Jahre schweizerische Europapolitik

2.14 Dieter Freiburghaus, Fazit, excerpt, in Königsweg oder Sackgasse?, Sechzig Jahre schweizerische Europapolitik, Zürich, 2009, p. 349 – 367

[summary of 60 years of European policy]

a) Background

European foreign policy has become the primary focus  of Swiss foreign policy. The observer of the growing influence of the developments in the European Union notes, that there is a curious lack of coherent and systematic texts on those developments. It is the political scientists and not the lawyers who first filled that gap after the turn of the millennium. Besides the political scientist René Schwok in text 2.13.- the political scientist Dieter Freiburghaus published in 2009 the leading book Königsweg oder Sackgasse? 60 Jahre schweizerische Europapolitik (Kings path or dead end? 60 years of Swiss-European policy) It is noteworthy that René Schwok is a representative of the internationalist institutional environment of Geneva and Freiburghaus is a representative of the institutional environment of Lausanne, both in the French speaking part of Switzerland and both on the shores of Lake Geneva, the neighbouring environment of Lausanne gradually becoming one scientific and academic environment with Geneva. Freiburghaus’s book is the only systematic and coherent book on Swiss European policy. It is structured along the time line of the post-World War II era, shedding light on every time period critical for the development. These efforts are to be viewed on the background of a consensual legal framework based upon a political will and decision between the EU and Switzerland, which was the main driver of the process of Europeanization of Swiss law. The ever growing influence of law and legal culture of the European Union and the parallel and autonomous decision of the Swiss government to adapt its laws to ensure that they are compatible with Europe became, besides Americanization, the prime sources of a constant and continuous decrease of autonomy of Switzerland in shaping its own law and legal culture.

Freiburghaus studied mathematics, economics and primarily political science in St. Gallen and Berlin. He was a scientific collaborator at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin; after returning to Switzerland he habilitated in international economy at the University of Basel. From 1988 to 2007 he was a full professor at the Institute de Hautes Etudes en Administration Publique (IDHAP) in Lausanne. Beyond his scientific work he is known for his communication and education efforts in lectures and articles addressing a wider public.

b) Summary

The text at hand with the title Fazit (summary and conclusion) is an excerpt from the only systematic and coherent book on the history of European policy Königsweg oder Sackgasse?, Sechzig Jahre schweizerische Europapolitik (Kings path or death end? 60 years of European policy in Switzerland); it appeared in 2009. . In the book Dieter Freiburghaus systematically details the course of Swiss-European relations over the past  sixty to seventy years in several main stages, a bumpy road indeed. The topics of the chapters are: the special role of Switzerland (1945 to 1950); the counter strategy of the “Non Six” (1955 to 1960); the vain attempts of the rapprochement of the EFTA states (1961 to 1968); the final achievement of free trade for the EFTA states (1969 to 1990); the Luxembourg Process (1984 to 1988); Switzerland in the grind of the Union of Maastricht and the European Economic Area (1989 to 1992); the period of accession or bilateralism? (1993 to 2000) and the period of “proven bilateralism in Switzerland” (2001 to 2008).

The text at hand is a recapitulation under the headings From special case to special case (Sonderfall), The reaction of Switzerland to European integration and The evolution from a domain of a few to a general market place. Under the heading of institutions, traditions and political cultures Freiburghaus pays special attention to neutrality, federalism, direct democracy and system of government. With regards to the present situation Freiburghaus addresses the issues: Is Switzerland over integrated? Is Switzerland an affiliated member (Zugewandter Ort) and does bilateralism have a future? Under the heading how to proceed in the future? he highlights the issue of Swiss abstention and again raises the issue of full accession – with a question mark.

The text as a conclusion of the book of Freiburghaus sails under a statement of the German poet of the 15th century Heinrich Heine from his Französische Zustände (French state-of-affairs). “Der heutige Tag ist das Resultat des gestrigen. Was dieser gewollt hat, müssen wir erforschen, wenn wir wissen, was jener will.”  (Working translation: „This day is the result of yesterday. What it wanted, we have to explore, if we wish to know, what this day wants.”)

c) Text

You can find a scan (PDF) of the original text here:

© Prof. Jens Drolshammer,,

Comments (0)