Case 242 - At the Heart—But Not Part—Europe? Switzerland and Its 1992 Referendum on the European Economic Area
In 1992 Switzerland held a national referendum on joining the newly formed European Economic Area (EEA)—the antechamber to full European Community (E.C.) membership. This case study describes how, against the backdrop of accelerating European integration and the sudden end of the Cold War, Switzerland’s efforts to restructure its relationship with the E.C. turned into an open-ended, broad debate on the future and identity of this prosperous, self-contained nation. The case is relevant to any course that deals with the problems of modern democracy, globalization, regional integration and free trade areas, nationalism and identity, the relationship between domestic and foreign policy, or the strategies of small nations.