From the EU`s point of view, the Treaties contain largely the same content as the EEA Treaties, so that Switzerland becomes a virtual member of the EEA. Most EU Member States are universal throughout the EU, the EEA and Switzerland and offer most of the conditions for the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital that apply to Member States. Switzerland contributes to the EU budget. Switzerland has extended bilateral treaties to the new EU Member States; each extension honours the approval of Swiss voters in a referendum. This justified the EU`s firm intention to update the bilateral approach through an ambitious institutional framework agreement. This agreement has not yet been concluded, as it raises some sensitive issues with regard to the level playing field and its monitoring. It may sound familiar to British ears. Switzerland participated in the negotiations of the EEA Agreement with the EU, signed the Agreement on 2 May 1992 and submitted an application for EU membership on 20 May 1992. A Swiss referendum on 6 December 1992 refused accession to the EEA. Subsequently, the Swiss government suspended EU accession negotiations until further notice. By ratifying the second round of bilateral treaties, in 2006 the Federal Council downgraded the characterisation of Switzerland`s full membership of the EU from a “strategic objective” to an “option”.
Membership remained the government`s goal and was a “long-term goal” of the Federal Council until 2016, when Switzerland`s frozen application was withdrawn.   The motion was adopted in June by the Council of States and then by the Federal Council.    By letter of 27 July, the Federal Council informed the Presidency of the Council of the EU that it was withdrawing its request.  In 1994, Switzerland and the EU began negotiating special relations outside the EEA. Switzerland wanted to ensure the economic integration with the EU that the EEA Treaty would have allowed, while cleaning up relations with the contentious points that led the people to refuse the referendum. Swiss politicians stressed the bilateral nature of these negotiations, which took place between two equal partners and not between 16, 26, 28 or 29, as is the case for the negotiations on the Treaty on European Union. These agreements cover a wide range of issues, including the free movement of persons, Schengen/Dublin, land and air transport, agriculture, research, statistics, free trade and customs services. The history of Switzerland`s bilateral engagement with the European Community consists of four main parts. In summary, this so-called “bilateral” approach works well for both parties and makes it possible to streamline trade relations. Problems can arise in such relationships. Switzerland and the EU are currently working on issues relating to cross-border services and wage protection (the so-called eight-day rule).
In total, there are currently more than 100 bilateral agreements between the EU and Switzerland. The goods agreements between Switzerland and the EU include measures to ensure the free movement of goods. These agreements can be classified into: (i) tariff reduction; – harmonisation of product rules; and (iii) simplification of border crossings. In the field of foreign and security policy, Switzerland and the EU have no cross-cutting agreements. .