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Why Switzerland and the United Kingdom Are Not Part of the European Union

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Politics
Wordcount: 2580 words Published: 12th Feb 2019

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Since World War II, Switzerland and Great Britain have gone through many political changes by reinforcing the foreign policy in their constitutions to protect the borders. When comparing these two governmental actions on policy, one can see the fate of the citizens in the two nations. The political powers these countries have are greatly interconnected with the world. It can be determined that the active role the United Kingdom plays in foreign affairs is superior to Switzerland in terms of creating economic political power and respect. However, Switzerland has had a long history of neutrality and has tried its best to not involve itself in European politics. This country has taken a neutral stance in regards to military action by maintaining and utilizing the Swiss military air force mainly for their protection. This is why these two rich and powerful countries are not part of the European Union.

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Recently, The European Union crisis has affected financially many different countries around the world. Therefore, the European Union has implemented the Euro as a common currency among seventeen countries.  Although there are many countries in Europe that may be part of the Euro zone, they will give very poor exchange rates.  Since 2008, the European Union has accumulated a lot of debt.  It has been struggling to pay their debt back to the Central Bank. This debt has damaged the European currency and has pushed many nations into recession.  This has lead to high unemployment rates and widespread poverty.  Countries like Switzerland do not want to be part of the European Union because the Swiss government feels that they will have to use their financial stability to help the economics of other countries.

Switzerland has been an independent country since 1291; it is located between Germany, Italy, France and Austria.  The capital of Switzerland is Bern and the largest city is Zurich.  Switzerland has been considered to be one of the strongest countries in the middle of the European Union.  This is because a political institution that protects the nation maintained it aligned with the vision of its founders. “The Federal Assembly” is the primary seat of power. Although in practice the executive branch has been increasing its power at the expense of the legislative branch, the Federal Assembly has two houses:  the Council of states and the National Council. 

In order for Switzerland to become part of the European Union, the Swiss government has to renounce their neutral power and financial stability. In 1992, the Swiss government applied for membership in the European Economic Area (EEA).  In a referendum on December 6, 1991, at a “historically high” turnout of 78.7%, the Swiss population narrowly rejected membership in the organization even though the liberals strongly supported membership”.  Subsequently to this, the Swiss government and the European Union permitted Switzerland to incorporate with the European Union without joining.  Switzerland’s foreign relations have avoided coalition that might involve military, political or monetary action. The Swiss constitution declares the preservation of Switzerland’s independence and welfare as the supreme objective of the Swiss foreign policy.  The structure laid down precise foreign policy to diplomatic consistence of the country to encourage high opinion for human rights, equality and the policy regulation. This was established to promote the Swiss economic interest around the world.  

All through history, the Swiss have been known for their banks. There are many reasons for this, including privacy and good interest rates.  Europeans had accounts in the Swiss banks way before the war.  Jewish people in Germany put their money in the Swiss banks because they did not want Germany to steal it. This made many problems that are still trying to be solved today.  The Swiss government feels that they have an ethical responsibility to undertake social, monetary and humanitarian actions that contribute to world peace and harmony. Switzerland feels that they are able to participate without compromising their neutrality. 

Switzerland is not part of the European nation which gives it its currency and economic power. Even though Switzerland’s view of isolation keeps it out of the European Union, it is not considered part of Europe.  Its solution to helping its neighbors with economic and security issues, is to do so in the most passive way possible. That is why the United Nations meets in Switzerland because of its state of neutrality and its constant involvement in peace with NATO.  According to a 2001 referendum, this can be done by the public in Switzerland. 

Seventy percent of Swiss voters rejected any political movement towards European Union Membership.  Even with these numbers, the Swiss government is heavily divided over entering the European Union.  British and Switzerland voters see little benefits in the struggling European Union. The involvement of Great Britain in the Middle East along with other foreign affairs has secured many of their economic ventures, especially those in opening markets like British Petroleum oil companies. The economy gains and by doing this Switzerland influences the world. This world influence comes with more long term gains than that of short term and can have both positive and negative effects.

Switzerland has very few enemies, receives less pressure from the world to get involved, and spends a large percentage of its budget on their military affairs.   The downside is that then Switzerland has to live by the rules of those who are more heavily involved in world affairs.  British foreign relations which mostly were inherited from England, originally pay to achieve stability of power from the inside of Europe.  No other country has achieved control over the relationships of the continent.   

The British government relies heavily upon its foreign affairs policies.  The United Kingdom’s policy of being involved in world affairs greatly benefits the nation when it comes to monetary stability, world power, respect, and national security. The United Kingdom has a good relationship with Europe since the Second World War. Since then, Great Britain has become a member of the European Economic.  Even though Great Britain does not use the Euro and is not a member of the Euro zone, it still plays a leading role in the day to day working of the European Union.

Great Britain had doubts when it came to being a part of the European Union and taking care of European Nations at the cost of the United Kingdom.  Great Britain was constantly pushing policies that furthered themselves from the European Union, including that of not using the Euro as their currency but rather keeping the British Pound, which was significantly stronger.  Joining the European Union was an uncharacteristic action by Great Britain.  In 1951, when the European Coal Steel Community was created Great Britain did not participate in it.  In 1957 it declined to join the six founding nations of the European Economic Community and in the signing of the treaty of Rome.

Jean Monnet, one of the founders of the European Economic Community, said “I never understood why the British did not join”.  The conclusion that it must have been because it was the price of victory, the illusion that “You could maintain what you had, without change” as the United Kingdom constantly pushed itself away from Europe, it considered itself closer to the United States and maintained a special relationship with them.

The laws of the land between the United Kingdom and Switzerland are drastically different. The United Kingdom’s common of formality with no real written down and unified constitution to Switzerland specifically states every right and liberty of the people and limitation of government power.  The United Kingdom’s constitution has evolved over the centuries, having a foundation of common law, Acts of Parliament, treaties, historical documents, and case law. It is not set out in any one clear and concise document which according to Justice Secretary “most people might struggle to put their finger on where their rights are” this is the problem with this type of law and rights of the United Kingdom.”

However, the European Union has a concrete stone way to protect the economy of the European Union as well. The economy is integral in the European region which aims to unify its members.  The Economic and Monetary Union offers the exclusiveness of the single currency. This explains the gains, costs and qualifications of joining the European Union and the European Central Union Bank, its policies and implications with regards to the regional economic integration into the single currency. The gain and cost are very important to cover because the European region is not the only region that is trying to implement regional economic integration.

The European integration policy relies within the members of the European Union.  The members themselves are the ones who make and decide policies. Members of the states are the ones who will either make the European Economic Monetary Union to succeed or fail and are the key of the regional economic integration’s progress.   They are the ones who know what is right and what is wrong regarding the policies to which the European Union stands.

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The European Union has a very particular way of selecting who can qualify for the European Economic and monetary union.  Criteria which was based on that the country satisfy the public deficit, interest rate and pass the qualifications. For countries to qualify for adopting the Euro, they have to sustain an inflation rate high enough to put up to the standards of others countries. Of course qualifications are not bias to just those counties that have high inflations.  The countries that qualified do not only have an increasing inflation rate but the need to sustain it.  At least every two years the European Central Bank Commission calls for a meeting to see the progress made and if the member’s states are fulfilling their obligations with regards to the standards of the Economic Monetary Union. These are stages they have to go through before they qualify for adopting the single currency.

These criteria are all part of the stability and growth of the European Union.  A pact also covers the government deficit, which is the amount by which government spending exceeds government income within a given year.  The stability and growth pact requires ensuring their yearly deficits to not exceed 3% of their total annual production, thus keeping their economic balance. By keeping economic balance, the European Union would not have a problem when they implement the single currency.

Countries who adopted the single currency and members of the European Union submit their budget plans to the European Commission who assesses them annually. There is also the public debt which is the total amount of accumulated government deficit which exceeds government income; the government concerned has borrowed money or raised taxes to fill the gap. The government ensures that they do not exceed 60 percent of their GDP (Gross Domestic Products) these rules are approved by all members of the European Union to demonstrate that the economic decision making is a matter of common concern and shared responsibility of all members of the European Union.

According to the author Henseler Stephan (2008); “Reviewing European monetary unification” he stated that suppression of exchange rates would eliminate any risk regarding currency exchange, thus reducing interest rates.  This means that there will be no more conversion of money between countries that are members of the European Union. With the economic integration on route, the single currency could most likely be a very massive dream to come true. When crossing the borders of Europe, residents from the countries who adopted the single currency would most likely not be harassed by changing their currency.  In addition to this, economic and monetary union would project a push and pull scenario between all member states.  If the currency would increase its value it would be better for those who have less economic growth.  The playing field of integration of financial markets would be even. With this the currency of the European Union would be most the most independent with the US dollar. The independency on the US interest rate would be likely to fall with a strong European currency and economic area. 

In conclusion, the political powers these countries have are greatly interconnected with the world. It can be determined that the active role the United Kingdom plays in foreign affairs is superior to Switzerland in terms of creating economic political power and respect. Excluding the fact that there are still areas to be changed by the European Union, as also the standards they set for the regional economic integration.  The European Economy that was created to protect the countries has been a success for them and it is still progressing up to this date.  In the future we can surely foresee that there will be more countries who will adopt the single currency offered by the economic union.

The European Economy has been a great achievement for the members of the European Union, there are still a lot of adjustments that need to be done regarding the policies of the Economy until then Switzerland and the United Kingdom will remain independent from the European Union.


Henseler, Stephan (2008) Reviewing European monetary unification. 

Diplomarbeit University of Vienna. Fakultät für Wirtschaftswissenschaften 



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