EU member states
The quality of Switzerland's relations with the individual EU member states, first and foremost the neighbouring states, plays an important role in the context of Switzerland's relations with the EU as a whole. Switzerland uses its regular contacts with the EU member states to explain its European policy to them. In this context, the direct neighbouring states, which have a great deal of influence within the EU, are of particular importance.
As a country in the middle of the continent, Switzerland's safeguarding of interests begins with Europe. For Switzerland, relations with the EU and its member states are of particular importance because the EU plays the leading role in the formulation of European standards and as an actor in continental cooperation.
Consequently, Switzerland's relationship with the European Union and the European states remains a key issue in its foreign policy. Successful protection of interests requires strong strategic partnerships, namely in the immediate neighbourhood.
Switzerland is closely intertwined with the surrounding states in economic, scientific, demographic, social and cultural terms and shares their fundamental values. It is therefore in its interest to contribute to a strong, stable Europe. To promote prosperity, security and democracy in Europe, it works closely with the EU and its member states.
In doing so, it is a reliable and solidary partner. Mutual working visits at diplomatic and technical level make it easier for Switzerland and its partner states to take bilateral decisions and solve problems. Contacts with EU member states are of essential importance. In the course of a year, a large number of meetings take place at the political, diplomatic and technical levels.
With the second Swiss contribution to selected EU states, Switzerland helps to reduce economic and social inequalities in the EU and to better manage migration movements, thereby deepening its relations with partner countries.
Switzerland has also been associated with the Schengen/Dublin system since 2008. This affiliation promotes close cooperation between EU member states and associated states in the areas of borders, justice, police, visas and asylum. It brings substantial economic and financial benefits to Switzerland and is a fundamental instrument in the area of internal security. Membership of the Schengen area and the resulting facilitation of border crossings lend Switzerland additional attractiveness.