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Switzerland's Approach to EU Engagement: a Financial Services Perspective

Church, Clive H. and Dardanelli, Paolo and Mueller, Sean (2013) Switzerland's Approach to EU Engagement: a Financial Services Perspective. Discussion paper. City of London, London

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This report examines Switzerland’s past and present political engagement with the EU, and how this operates for one of its key industries, the financial services sector. The report will help to inform debate around how the UK engages with the EU, by considering the experiences of Switzerland as a European country outside the EU, with a significant financial services industry. Key points to note are: 1) A complex approach to engagement The Swiss approach is complex, consisting of a set of disparate sector-specific bilateral agreements developed over time, including on Schengen but excluding financial services, together with much informal Europeanisation, including autonomous adoption of EU law. 2) Reliance on London for access to European capital markets Despite there being no comprehensive services accord, the Swiss financial sector has, so far, benefitted from largely unfettered access to the EU market, often through its presence in London. New EU regulations could change this. Tighter regulations would mean third countries constantly having to amend their parallel legislation, in line with any changes in Single Market legislation, in order to maintain equivalence over the course of time. 3) A means of moving closer to the EU Switzerland’s bilateral approach has been a means of moving closer to the EU rather than maintaining distance – and around 40% of Swiss legislation derives from EU rules. 4) Access to EU markets Maintaining Switzerland’s level of access to the Single Market requires continual closeness to the EU. A Free Trade agreement is not sufficient, especially for the financial sector. Maintaining access to European capital markets necessitates formal agreements and parallel legislation to that of the EU. 5) Overall The Swiss approach is an exception, developed over time, rather than a formal model, and is a means of closer engagement with the EU. Forgoing complete access to the Single Market has had implications for the Swiss financial services sector, namely through the associated necessity of establishing operations in London, and has reduced Switzerland’s ability to engage in EU policy making.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion paper)
Uncontrolled keywords: Switzerland, EU, European Union, Europe, financial services, regulation, UK, London, City, City of London, Centre for Swiss Politics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Paolo Dardanelli
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2013 09:32 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 10:05 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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