Switzerland

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Photo: swiss-image.ch / Beat MüllerPhoto: swiss-image.ch / Beat Müller

Close relationship

Through a range of agreements in different sectors, the EU has a closer relationship with Switzerland than with any other country outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Switzerland is the EU's 4th largest trading partner, and the EU is Switzerland’s largest trading partner. More than 1 million EU citizens live in Switzerland, and another 230,000 cross the border daily to go to work. Some 430,000 Swiss citizens live in the EU.

Trade

Switzerland's economic and trade relations with the EU are governed by the 1972 free trade agreement , supplemented in 1999 by an agreement on trade in agricultural products and in 2004 by a protocol on processed agricultural products. Other agreements cover mutual recognition in relation to conformity assessment and public procurement.

In 2011, the EU imported €91.2 bn in Swiss goods (5.4% of total EU imports) and exported €121.7 bn worth of goods to Switzerland (7.9% of total EU exports). The EU accounts for 68% of the Switzerland's foreign trade.

Travel, residence and work

In 1999 the EU and Switzerland signed an agreement on the free movement of persons, giving each other's citizens the right to enter, live and work on their territories.

Switzerland is an associate member of Europe's border free Schengen area and full participant in the Dublin system for dealing with asylum claims.
The EU and Switzerland have also concluded agreements liberalising reciprocal access to the transport markets for aviation and for the carriage of passengers & goods by road and rail.

EU programmes

Switzerland participates in the EU Framework Programme for Research, the EU MEDIA programme and the Youth in Action and Life long Learning programmes.

Foreign policy

On the basis of ad hoc agreements, Switzerland participates in some EU civilian crisis management missions and operations (EULEX Kosovo, EUFOR ALTHEA).

EU Council conclusions

In its conclusions on the relations with the EFTA countries, the Council of the European Union has on several occasions commented on the relationship with Switzerland (5 December 2008 , 14 December 2010 , and 20 December 2012 ).

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