Institutionalize cooperation between Switzerland and the EU on new axes
EEA in the initial situation majority – polarization to be expected.
The latest representative Europe survey by gfs.bern in cooperation with the European Movement Switzerland shows that Switzerland’s current foreign policy and the breakdown of negotiations on the framework agreement are causing dissatisfaction among voters. The most important and at the same time most urgent priority from the point of view of the electorate is stable relations with the European Union. However, this is also an area of tension, as the second most urgent foreign policy aspect is a Switzerland that is as independent and neutral as possible. In addition, the assessment of the EU by Swiss voters continues to be critical: On the one hand, its performance is assessed as poor, but on the other hand, the EU has been able to improve its reputation in Switzerland since the Ukraine war. Nevertheless, intentional rapprochements have gained a certain priority. If voters were to vote on the European Economic Area membership today, more than two-thirds would vote “yes”. Many people still remember the 1992 vote, and a similar polarisation to that during the referendum campaign is conceivable.
The conjoint decision experiment, an innovative method of opinion research, allows respondents to express preferences on several aspects of Switzerland’s relationship with the EU at the same time. This experiment shows that, in addition to the strongly desired cooperation in the area of education, energy and, for some of the respondents, security are also relevant axes in the current context for closer cooperation with the EU in an institutionalised agreement.