Policy paper

Switzerland- European Union: je t’aime moi non plus (love you, love you not)

Recommended citation

Martelli, L. 2023. “Switzerland-European Union: je t’aime moi non plus (love you, love you not)“, Policy paper, Paris: Jacques Delors Institute, October.

The relationship between Switzerland and the European Union (EU) is an “un-thought political issue”. With this in mind, the relations between the two parties have been for the last thirty years a series of twists and turns punctuated by phases of coming together and then distancing, almost comparable to Brexit. Yet, both Switzerland and the EU are committed to a political and institutional culture of compromise, so why so much blocking and hesitation?

On October 22nd 2023, the Swiss citizens renewed their representatives in the two chambers of parliament (National Council and Council of States): the subject of the relations with Brussels, with little good electoral potential for the parties, was absent from the campaign. At the same time, the EU will be going through its own elections in June 2024, with all the changes that this implies for the European legislative and executive bodies. Still, at a time when the debate on possible enlargements of the Union is becoming increasingly prominent, no mention is made of the Union’s most immediate neighbours (United Kingdom or Switzerland). Why such a polite indifference to these issues on both the Swiss and European sides?