Chapter

Switzerland and the European Union: A Puzzle

Jürg Steiner

in Minority Nationalism and the Changing International Order

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780199242146
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599651 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199242143.003.0007
 Switzerland and the European Union: A Puzzle

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Why is it that Switzerland, a country that combines a high level of cultural and linguistic diversity with a high level of political stability, is so reluctant to join the EU? This chapter briefly reviews the historical background to Swiss federalism, in order then to discuss cultural and economic perceptions, which have created a durable public perception of the virtues of neutrality and independence from European entanglements. It then discusses what the growing integration and politico‐economic harmonization of Europe implies for the future of Swiss nationalism, and discerns a generational shift of opinion, whereby younger Swiss will increasingly come to recognize a parallel European identity above that of the Swiss nation‐state.

Keywords: European Union; nationalism; Switzerland

Chapter.  7611 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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