Despite the fact that Switzerland does not formally belong to the European Union, it has always been strongly associated with the above organization at various levels. At first, after World War II, the contact was established with considerable caution which resulted from economic and trade contacts of Swiss government with Germany and Italy maintained during the war. First international contracts were related to the economic sphere and later on expanded by addressing the sphere of social issues such as legal system, culture, charity, science and education. At present, due to bilateral agreements, Switzerland has been integrated with the European Union even more than its newest Member States, i.e. Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia, which confirms the significant flexibility of this Community as well as its great possibility to adapt to each of its Members.
According to the Swiss, the greatest obstacle preventing this country from joining the EU is the upholding principle of eternal neutrality, although the importance of which has decreased over the years, it has been deeply rooted in Swiss mentality. Moreover, another factor preventing Switzerland from joining the EU is its strong economy as Swiss membership would result in the need to pay relatively higher contributions than that of other Member States of the Community. Although the contacts between the EU and Switzerland have been significantly intensified, the prospect of membership still seems relatively remote, all the more as bilateral agreements as well as participation in the Schengen area since 2008 make both parties satisfied and for now none of them intends to seek new solutions.