Co-operation between Switzerland and its EU-neighbour states is framed by bilateral agreements with both the EU as a whole, and individual states such as Germany. Switzerland’s membership of the Schengen Area enables people to cross from one state to another without having to pass through passport controls at the border. Nevertheless, different duties and limits on the import of goods requiring customs controls, different administrative systems, and the usage of different currencies and taxes all of which impact on cross-border movement are some examples of the different facets of the borders between Switzerland and its EU neighbours. Bilateral agreements between the EU and Switzerland reduce the effect of non-membership. The freedoms of the European internal market and the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU are to some extent slowly removing the border’s ability to represent an obstacle to cross-border mobility and co-operation, but differences in the legal and administrative systems, mentalities and cultural preferences persist. In view of this, many different approaches are used to establish, encourage and simplify cross-border collaboration. These can be discerned at different levels and with respect to various subject areas.
This Briefing Paper provides an overview of the institutional framework for co-operation established at various levels. Please click on the following link to download.