GOVTRAN Briefing Paper: Energy Cooperation between the EU and Switzerland – Partners by Destiny in Search of a New Model

1 / 2020
Philipp Thaler

The gradual integration of EU energy policy has implications for the national energy policies of its neighbors. While members of the European Economic Area (EEA) and the Energy Community implement large parts of the EU’s energy acquis, other third countries are also affected. Switzerland—physically integrated in the European energy grid but lacking a formalized mechanism of regulatory adaptation with the EU—is an interesting case in this respect, not least because of its implications for a UK-EU relationship post-Brexit. Currently, an EU-Switzerland electricity agreement is being negotiated but its conclusion remains highly uncertain. This briefing paper highlights that either outcome—with or without and electricity agreement—has important implications for the Swiss energy transition, Swiss access to European bodies of energy policy-making, and Swiss renewable investors. Yet, even without an electricity agreement, interdependence between the Swiss and EU electricity systems will increase, creating pressure to find alternative forms of cooperation. 

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