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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Federalism on Different Levels: Switzerland Capitulates to the E.U.

In 1960, Switzerland was one of the two founders of the European Free Trade Association. All of the countries participating in that free-trade agreement except Switzerland went on to ratify the EEA (European Economic Area) free-trade treaty, an agreement akin to NAFTA in America. In a referendum in December 1992, the Swiss turned down the proposed treaty. Rather than gain access to the E.U.’s domestic market through EEA, the Swiss opted to do so through bilateral treaties with the E.U. by which the independent state agreed to E.U. laws relevant to the single market. Switzerland also signed on to the  Schengen arrangement, which became an E.U. law in 1999, and provisions concerning security and asylum. Even so, changes to the relevant E.U. federal law are binding on Switzerland via the bilateral treaties only if a bilateral commission approves. Admittedly, “Bilateral” is somewhat misleading here, as a basic equivalence is erroneously assumed between the E.U. and Switzerland.

The complete essay is at Essays on Two Federal Empires.

 Switzerland, shown in orange, would not even be a large state in the E.U.    Source:  battlecat.net

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Merkel Siding with China against the E.U.: Federalism Imploding?

In May 2013, German Chancellor Angela Merkel interjected herself into the brewing trade conflict between the E.U. and China. At issue was the European Commission’s proposal to impose import tariffs on some Chinese solar and telecommunications products in response to suspected dumping by China. Merkel’s involvement involves a conflict of interest for her and exploits a vulnerability in the E.U.’s federal system.

Although the flags of the E.U. and China both have stars, the E.U. has a federal system while China is centrally governed.  Both forms of government have drawbacks, but at the "empire level," federalism usually works better than a central government, given the expanse.   Source: ipolitics.ca
The full essay is at Essays on the E.U. Political Economy, available at Amazon.