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The UK and Switzerland’s fall outs with the EU

What do Brexit and the Swiss breakdowns in relations with the EU have in common? According to a Swiss social historian, quite a lot. Switzerland has never been an EU member but enjoys almost full access to the EU’s internal market, thanks to 120 bilateral agreements. Attempts to update these with a new framework agreement collapsed in 2021 when the Swiss walked out of talks with the EU. The Financial Times dubbed the fallout “Swexit” in reference to Brexit, the divorce between the EU and the UK as both countries had similar sticking points with the 27-country block.

SWI met up with Oliver Zimmer, a Swiss expert in modern European history, who takes a closer look at the similarities between the two countries in their troubled relations with the EU. Zimmer is in a good position to compare the two: he was a renowned Oxford University professor who recently returned to Switzerland after 27 years in the UK. He now works for CREMAExternal link, the Zurich-based Center for Research in Economics Management and the Arts.

----- is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to report on Switzerland and to provide a Swiss perspective on international events.
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SWI – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Since 1999, has fulfilled the federal government’s mandate to distribute information about Switzerland internationally, supplementing the online offerings of the radio and television stations of the SBC. Today, the international service is directed above all at an international audience interested in Switzerland, as well as at Swiss citizens living abroad.
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