Focusing on EU-Switzerland relations and the negotiations of an Institutional Framework Agreement (InstA), this policy brief offers an analysis of whether and how the EU indeed follows its objective of developing a more coherent – joined-up – approach in relations with third countries. While analysing EU diplomatic practice vis-à-vis one major partner country in Europe, this policy brief sheds light on how the EU could manage its relations with other neighbouring countries seeking privileged partnerships similar to Switzerland’s, that is, extensive access to the Single Market without EU membership. It first conceptualises the joined-up approach and then discusses three instances where a more joined-up and coherent approach can be observed in this bilateral relationship: sectoral agreements, sectoral cooperation and the EU’s own internal organisation. In particular, the EU has linked the negotiation of market access agreements to the prior signature of the InstA. The policy brief concludes by discussing the implications of the findings for EU diplomatic practices and relations with third countries more generally.
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