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The Dynamics of Confederalism and Federalism: Comparing Switzerland and the EU

Church, Clive H., Dardanelli, Paolo (2005) The Dynamics of Confederalism and Federalism: Comparing Switzerland and the EU. Regional and Federal Studies, 15 (2). pp. 163-185. ISSN 1359-7566. (doi:10.1080/13597560500115444) (KAR id:841)


This article outlines the modern historical evolution of the Swiss political system and describes the main features of its contemporary federalism. In particular, it focuses on how the division of competences and the distribution of power have changed over time, on the factors which have driven these changes, leading to a description of the current situation created by these developments. It then compares the Swiss experience with that of the European Union and draws some lessons from this for the debate on the evolution of the European Union and, in particular, on the adoption and the ratification of the Constitutional Treaty. Although it emphasizes the role of historical experiences and of political culture in shaping Swiss federalism and the difficulties, if not the impossibility, of replicating them in the European context, it concludes that the EU could learn from Switzerland but may not do so.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/13597560500115444
Subjects: J Political Science
J Political Science > JN Political institutions and public administration (Europe)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Funders: Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (
Depositing User: Alison Webster
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2007 18:32 UTC
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2022 10:38 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Church, Clive H..

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Dardanelli, Paolo.

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