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Sovereignty as Credibility - Expert Survey on the Implementation of the Swiss-EU Bilateral Agreements

Elia Pusterla
The London School of Economics & Political Science
Elia Pusterla
The London School of Economics & Political Science

This paper presents findings on the credibility of the claim of sovereignty of a state experiencing Europeanization. Following a twofold structure, a definition of sovereignty resting upon the functional origin of that concept is firstly proposed. Indeed, sovereignty consists in credibly promising the present and future ability to provide answers and solutions, in the shape of unconditioned decisions, to problems and worries putting into danger someone’s existence. Thus proposing an empirical approach to answer the epistemological question on how the sovereignty of a political entity might be concretely tested, the paper refers to the case-study of the bilateral relations between Switzerland and European Union in which the former claims its sovereign ability to maintain its Europeanization under control. Through an expert survey by high civil servants of the Swiss Federal administration to whom a questionnaire was submitted, statistical results are proposed in respect to the Swiss claim of sovereignty in the frame of the implementation of the bilateral agreements with the European Union. In particular, data show how such a claim is controversial considering that Swiss civil servants point out varying evidence of indirect Europeanization, agency slippage and sovereignty erosion within the implementation of those Swiss-EU agreements.
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