Switzerland European Union Bilateral Agreements
The ongoing implementation of these agreements obliges Switzerland to adopt relevant EU legislation in the covered sectors. From the EU`s point of view, the treaties contain largely the same content as the EEA treaties, making Switzerland a virtual member of the EEA. Most EU laws apply throughout the EU, the EEA and Switzerland and offer most of the conditions for the free movement of people, goods, services and capital that apply to Member States. Switzerland contributes to the EU budget. Switzerland has extended bilateral treaties to new EU member states; Any extension required the approval of Swiss voters in a referendum. This has led to the EU`s firm intention to update the bilateral approach through an ambitious institutional framework agreement. This agreement has not yet been concluded, as it raises a number of sensitive issues concerning the equal conditions of competition and their monitoring. British ears may seem familiar. The inclusion of bilateral agreements with the European Union allows Switzerland to cooperate closely with the EU by gradually resolving concrete issues and problems.
Using specific contractual agreements, the EU and Switzerland have access to market access and cooperate on key issues. However, unlike full European integration, the bilateral approach does not require Switzerland to accept EU legislation beyond its own. These figures are eloquent: the facilitation of tariffs works very well, because their legal basis is the customs agreement with the EU and many bilateral technical agreements with the four neighbouring EU Member States, which facilitate border controls of goods. In 2009, the Swiss voted in favour of extending the free movement of people to Bulgaria and Romania from 59.6% to 40.4%.  While the 2004/38/EC European Directive on the right of free movement and residence does not apply directly to Switzerland, the bilateral agreement between Switzerland and the EU on the free movement of persons has the same rights for both Swiss citizens and eee and their family members.  These agreements cover a wide range of issues, including the free movement of persons, Schengen/Dublin, land and air transport, agriculture, research, statistics, free trade and customs services. There are currently more than 100 bilateral agreements between the EU and Switzerland. These bilateral agreements between the EU and Switzerland are currently managed by some 20 joint committees. In 1992, Switzerland held a referendum on membership of the European Economic Area, which allows members of the European Free Trade Association to participate in the EU Single Market. The Swiss voted against EEA membership and chose to continue to adopt a strictly bilateral approach in their relations with the EU.
Membership of the EEA would have forced Switzerland to take back part of EU law. How does Switzerland achieve such integration without being a member of the EU or the European Economic Area (EEA)? Answer: with the so-called “bilateral” approach.