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From Exceptionnalism to Normality - On Switzerland’s Europeanness

Eurostudia, vol.1, no. 1, June 2005
Deutsch | français
Manuel Meune, Université de Montréal
Even though not a member of the European Union, Switzerland however takes part in the big debate on the identity of the European continent. One doesn’t talk yet of the question of membership, but there is a controversy going on between the defenders and the opponents of the so-called “bilateral” way which shall determine the relationship with the EU. In 2004 the possible membership in the Schengen treaty has nourished discussions about national frontiers and the relationship between autochthones and immigrants, and in some cases the use of ethnic categories seemed to contradict the Swiss ideal of a ”nation of will”. In addition to that the fact that English as first foreign language in schools is gaining ground raises the question of the future of the Swiss model of multilingualism - which in return reflects the challenges of European integration.