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Switzerland – From Splendid Isolation to Selected Cooperation

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Ehs, Tamara

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Abstract For a small, landlocked country with a difficult geography and no natural resources to speak of, Switzerland has done remarkably well. Nevertheless, the Alpine republic faced some difficulties during the 1990s, even a crisis: Since the fall of the Iron Curtain its role as a neutral go-between was questioned. And as European integration was moving forward the Swiss found themselves quite isolated. As a result, Switzerland cautiously took steps towards international integration and joined the United Nations in 2002. But the country still abstains from joining the EU, disliking the idea of laws made in Brussels rather than in Bern. Therefore Switzerland found a compromise with the EU by negotiating bilateral agreements, including on security issues. Although Switzerland still prefers to go it alone, the country is looking for a replacement for its diminished political weight by adopting a new role of selected cooperation: providing assistance in the Balkans within the framework of the PfP and ESDP, and joining the Schengen/Dublin-Agreement etc. As a small, neutral country Switzerland traditionally wants to offer itself as a go-between in today’s conflicts and tries to balance between keeping a low profile in its own foreign and security policy without losing even more ground and to provide space for “Good Offices”. Up to now, the country has been quite successful in doing so.
Classification International Relations, International Politics, Foreign Affairs, Development Policy
Free Keywords Good Offices; Identity; Neutrality; Security Policy; Cooperation; European Union; Switzerland
Document language English
Publication Year 2005
Page/Pages p. 46-54
Journal Politics in Central Europe, 1 (2005) 1
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications