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Introduction: The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities joined the original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. A constitution of 1848, subsequently modified in 1874, replaced the confederation with a centralized federal government. Switzerland's sovereignty and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and the country was not involved in either of the two world wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland's role in many UN and...

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Economic Overview: Analysis of the economy

Switzerland is an open economy with one of the highest standards of living and one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Switzerland's GDP was estimated at US$492 billion (A$499 billion) in 2009. Switzerland's prosperity is based on labour skills and technological expertise in manufacturing as well as earnings from services such as tourism and banking. In the 2010-11 World Economic Forum Competitiveness Index Switzerland ranked number one for the third time.

Switzerland is an important trading nation and a net exporter. In 2009 goods and services exports amounted to ...

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History: Originally inhabited by the Helvetians, or Helvetic Celts, the territory comprising modern Switzerland came under Roman rule during the Gallic wars in the 1st century BC and remained a Roman province until the 4th century AD. Under Roman influence, the population reached a high level of civilization and enjoyed a flourishing commerce. Important cities, such as Geneva, Basel, and Zurich, were ...

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International Relations: Switzerland has been a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) since 1959 and a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) since 1995. Switzerland is not a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) after membership was rejected by referendum in 1992. A March 2001 referendum on opening an EU accession dialogue was also defeated. Nonetheless the political debate on EU membership continues, and in general Swiss laws continue to be made compatible with EU legislation.

In 2002, the ‘Bilaterals I’ package came into force, including an agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (FMoP) between Switzerland and ...

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