CAS in Politics and Institutions of Swiss–E.U. relations

The topic | Objectives | Target audience | Teaching methods

The topic

The background story to the relationship between Switzerland and the EU can be summed up by the formula that adhesion is improbable, but marginalisation is impossible” (R. Schwok). Switzerland has not joined the European Union because it is fiercely jealous of its independence. By vocation and by necessity, Switzerland nevertheless has very close relations with its larger neighbour, to the point that some might qualify the country as a quasi-member of the EU. By virtue of the many accords passed with the EU and its own legislative policies, Switzerland has adopted whole sections of European legislation. Thus, in an increasing number of domains, Swiss laws and policies can only be understood in light of its bilateral relations with the EU and EU law.

The present course aims to provide participants with a deep understanding of Swiss–EU relations as well as the “Europeanisation” of Switzerland’s laws and policies from the political and legal points of view. We will notably examine:

  • The history and methods of European integration and the relations between the EU and its neighbours;
  • Switzerland’s future policies with regards to Europe;
  • The history and institutional characteristics of the bilateral negotiations;
  • Current challenges facing Swiss–EU relations;
  • The procedures, techniques and challenges of adopting existing EU legislation into Swiss law;
  • The interpretation and application of bilateral laws

The theoretical notions presented during the course will be examined and applied in numerous sectorial case studies. The course will be enriched by lectures from renowned experts within Switzerland’s public administration, civil society and the university, as well as by practical work and activities involving the participants themselves.



This course has four objectives:

  1. Acquire a deep understanding of Switzerland’s European policy and its relations with the European Union from historical, comparative, political and institutional viewpoints;
  2. Master the legislative and legal techniques employed by Switzerland to adopt EU law, both for how the relevant norms are adopted and how the laws are applied;
  3. Enable students to be able to position themselves competently within the debate on Switzerland and Europe;
  4. Be capable of applying the analysis and action tools acquired during the course to particular sectors and topics.


Target audience

  • Participants in the MAS in Public Administration (MPA);
  • Political and administrative leaders/managers at the federal and cantonal levels;
  • Persons working for international organisations and NGOs;
  • Company executives and journalists.

Teaching methods

The course will combine group activities, ex-cathedra lectures and conferences. An interactive pedagogical style will encourage participants to contribute their thoughts on the course’s theoretical reflections and to share their professional experiences, thus enriching the teaching staffs’ contributions.

Teaching will integrate the legal, institutional and historical-political perspectives into a form of exchange conducive to interdisciplinary openness between participants and a holistic understanding of the subject matter.


Qualifications and Certificates

Participants who actively and regularly attend the course, and complete the course project, will be awarded a Foundation of Continuing Education certificate of continuing education/Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Public Administration (with a specialisation in CEMAP). This corresponds to 10 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits. Participants who follow the course but decide not to complete the project work will receive a certificate of attendance (but no ECTS credits).


Registration fees

Total course registration fees come to CHF 3,900 (including all documentation), which should be paid on receipt of the invoice, and by the start of the course at the latest.
A discount of 5%, up to a maximum of CHF 500 per course, is available to any IDHEAP alumni—holding an MPA, DAS or CEMAP, an IDHEAP PhD or a Master’s in PMP—who wish to follow a CAS course or a Seminar for Specialist and Executives organised by IDHEAP. This reduction does not apply to participants in the DAS who subsequently wish to follow the MPA course. Any decision to withdraw from the course must be made in writing. If withdrawal from the course is announced between 21 and ten days prior to its commencement, 50% of the registration fee will remain due. If withdrawal from the course is announced less than ten days before its commencement, the entire registration fee is due. The number of places being limited, registrations will be considered on the basis of the date of receipt.


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Prof. Francesco Maiani
Quartier UNIL-Mouline
Bâtiment IDHEAP
CH-1015 Lausanne
+41 21 692 68 24


Rue de la Mouline 28 - CH-1022 Chavannes-près-Renens
Tel. +41 21 692 68 00
Fax +41 21 692 68 09