Online course in Politics & the Modern World

Switzerland in Europe: Money, Migration and Other Difficult Matters

Learn about the position of Switzerland in Europe, in particular with respect to money, migration and other difficult matters.

Switzerland in Europe: Money, Migration and Other Difficult Matters

  • Duration 6 weeks
  • Weekly study 4 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $54 Find out more

Why join the course?

In times of economic uncertainty and increasing migration within Europe, the relationship between Switzerland and the European Union (EU) is severely tested. Located in the west of the European continent, Switzerland is a small but wealthy country, which is surprisingly not a member of the EU. Did you ever wonder what the reasons for this are? And have you ever thought about what legal conditions govern this exceptional relationship?

In this free online course, we will attempt to answer some key questions, including:

  • What is the general place of Switzerland in the ‘legal (and political) landscape’ of Europe?
  • What effect does the special situation of Switzerland have for the debate in other countries on issues such as taxation and migration?

Learn to distinguish fact from myth

This course offers a legal and political look at the position of Switzerland in Europe and its challenges as a non-Member State of the EU. We will put a particular focus on much debated and sometimes misunderstood issues such as corporate taxation, banking secrecy and the debate about curbing immigration. With this in mind, you will be able to reflect on Switzerland, the EU and regional integration on a differentiated basis.

Expand your knowledge through case studies

In addition to case studies on ‘money’ and ‘migration’, we will also discuss the negotiations between Switzerland and the EU on the institutional framework of the Swiss-EU legal relationship. Studying the case of Switzerland from different angles will not only further your legal knowledge but also sharpen your awareness of the high degree of interconnectedness of countries in the modern world. After this course you should be able to apply your knowledge in other contexts - for example, when assessing news about regional integration in Europe or elsewhere.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 secondsDid you ever wonder why Switzerland, a landlocked country in the heart of Western Europe, is not part of the European Union or EU? Or did you ever ask yourself about the meaning of the famous, or depending on the perspective, infamous Swiss Banking Secrecy? This course puts the focus on much debated issues, such as banking secrecy, corporate taxation, and migration, as well as on the consequences of the Swiss rules on these issues vis-a-vis other countries. We invite you to explore the economic, political, and legal position of Switzerland in Europe, in particular its relationship with the EU.

Skip to 0 minutes and 59 secondsThrough this course, you will become aware of the effect that the special situation of Switzerland has for the political and legal debate in other countries. At the end of this course, you will understand the general place of Switzerland in the legal and political landscape of Europe. More specifically, you will be acquainted with the complex legal relationship between Switzerland and the EU, which is the most important regional organisation in Europe when it comes to economic matters. Furthermore, you will be aware of the preconditions shaping the momentary situation, including its history.

Skip to 1 minute and 41 secondsIn order to reach these goals, we will not just look at corporate taxation and Swiss Banking Secrecy, but also at issues like the decision by the Swiss voting population to limit immigration and its consequences for the participation of Switzerland in the EU's research, culture, and student mobility programmes. We look forward to working with you on money, migration, and other difficult matters and to hearing your inputs on these topics. Join our course, and find out whether or not Switzerland can be considered an island.

What topics will you cover?

  • Switzerland’s legal relationship to the European Union, present and future
  • Federal structure of Switzerland
  • Corporate taxation and banking secrecy
  • Migration of persons seeking international protection
  • Economic migration and the free movement of persons
  • The Swiss popular vote on curbing migration as compared to the debate in the UK
  • The institutional framework of the Swiss-EU Agreements

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Reflect on the interconnectedness of states in the modern world.
  • Describe the federal structure of Switzerland.
  • Debate corporate taxation and banking secrecy against the background of global and regional rules.
  • Explore the interests involved in economic migration.
  • Compare the legal concept of free movement of persons with national debates on curbing migration.
  • Develop an opinion on the rules on persons seeking international protection.
  • Summarise the present system of Swiss-EU agreements.
  • Collect arguments ‘why Switzerland should or should not join the EU’.

Who is the course for?

The only thing you need to bring to the course is an interest for legal, political and social issues. You do not need to have a prior knowledge of law to profit from this course. The course addresses non-professionals as well as people working in politics or administration - for example, in the EU, the EEA and Switzerland, further journalists and law students, in particular, but not only, those specialising in EU and international law.

Who will you learn with?

Christa Tobler

Christa Tobler

I am a professor of European Union Law both in Switzerland (Basel University) and in the Netherlands (Leiden University).

Sebastian Meyer

Sebastian Meyer

I am a PhD candidate in EU law at the University of Basel, especially interested in asylum/migration law and policy. I am looking forward to discussing this and other topical issues on FutureLearn.

Who developed the course?

The University of Basel has an international reputation of outstanding achievements in research and teaching.

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