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Switzerland is not an island

What does it mean that Switzerland is not an Island? Watch Prof. Christa Tobler reflect on this fact.
Welcome to the final step of our first course week. At this moment, I would like to look back at what we have discussed in this week. I think that the first lesson to be learned
is a very simple one: No country is an island. In our modern world, much is interconnected. What one country does may have a very tangible effect on others. Our two case studies regarding Switzerland on the corporate taxation and banking secrecy are perfect examples for this. On the one hand, we saw that the content of Swiss legislation on such issues has an immediate effect on other countries that may lose tax revenue and that might find it difficult to fight fraud and evasion. On the other hand, we saw that international factors have influenced the Swiss legislation on and even the Swiss attitude to issues such as banking secrecy. The second lesson that we learned concerns the importance of international organisations.
We saw that when they take initiatives and develop standards, these may have effects even on non-member states. As for Switzerland, we saw that this small country, located in the centre of Western Europe, is part of important international organisations such as the OECD, though not the G20. In addition, Switzerland is also a member of a number of organisations and fora that were not mentioned in our previous course steps as they were not of immediate relevance for our case studies. Here we could mention the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
On the regional level, we saw that Switzerland is a member of the Council of Europe and of the EFTA, but importantly, neither of the EU nor of the EEA. I enjoyed this first week of our course. How about you? What was the most important discovery for you in this first week? You might want to post it in the comments section. In our second course week, we will focus on economic integration in Europe, including also the very interesting question why Switzerland, located in the heart of Western Europe, is not a part of the EU or the EEA. I look forward to interesting discussions with you on these issues.

In the modern world, no country is an island.

Switzerland is part of a highly interconnected world. What this means may have an influence on other countries, and vice versa. In this situation, international organisations play an important role. Switzerland is part of a number of important organisations on the global and on the regional level, but – importantly – neither of the European Union nor of the European Economic Area.

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