Since 1972, Switzerland and the European Union (EU), initially called the EEC and subsequently the EC, have concluded a number of agreements. These agreements improve reciprocal access to markets and form the foundations for close cooperation in areas such as justice, research, transport and security. The table below gives an overview of when the different agreements were signed and entered into force.
Following the first agreements concluded with the EU in the 1970s – the Free Trade Agreement and the 1989 Insurance Agreement – Switzerland signed a first package of seven agreements with the EU in 1999: the Bilateral Agreements I. In 2004 a second package of agreements – the Bilateral Agreements II – was signed to extend cooperation between Switzerland and the EU. The bilateral ties between Switzerland and the EU are continuously developing and improving with the signing of new agreements that take into account Switzerland's needs and interests.
These agreements are automatically extended to new members states upon their accession to the EU. Only the Agreement on the free movement of persons (AFMP) is renegotiated with every new member state. The terms of extension are defined on a case-by-case basis in a protocol modifying the agreement and its annexes.