Switzerland and the acquis

I have written previously about the challenge that the Single European Act of 1987, with its objective of creating a single market by 1992, presented to the EFTA states. In August 1988, the Swiss Federal Council published a Report on European Integration, in which it rejected EC membership as incompatible with its neutrality policy, in current conditions at least, but advocated instead ‘an active integration policy’ aiming at the establishment of ‘conditions as similar to the internal market as possible’. 1

In May 1988, the Federal Council decided to examine all reports and proposals submitted to parliament to ascertain their compatibility with European law. The goal was ‘to ensure the greatest possible compatibility of our legal provisions with those of our European partners in all areas having a transborder dimension (and only in those)’. 2 Thus began the process known as autonomer nachvollzug (‘automomous enactment’) by which Switzerland has voluntarily adapted its own legislation to conform in greater or lesser degree to Community legislation.

Continue reading


  1. Sieglinde Gstöhl, ‘Reluctant Europeans: Norway, Sweden and Switzerland in the process of integration’ (London: Rienner, 2002) p. 159
  2. Gstöhl, ‘Reluctant Europeans’, p. 160