Integration of the Swiss energy system into the European energy policy


The complementary study entitled “Integration of the Swiss energy system into the European energy policy” will identify the main characteristics of the current and expected future energy policies of Switzerland and Europe. For this purpose It will study Switzerland’s and Europe’s energy policies from the point of view of governance. It will analyse not only the formalised rules, but also the institutions, the formal and informal political processes and the interactions between governmental and non-governmental players.

Project description

The first part of the study will focus on the differences and regulatory gaps between the European and Swiss legal frameworks. It will take account of the applicable legal provisions, as well as the legislative proposals put forward by the European Commission in its “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package (also referred to as “Winter package”). It will also examine how the relevant legal provisions are implemented: which authorities are empowered to interpret the law? What form do the associated proceedings take? This analysis will include the formal institutional framework as well as the ties between the involved entities (e.g. ENTSO-E, ElCom and ComCo). The aim of this comparison between the existing Swiss and European legislation is to identify the relevant differences in the context of Energy Strategy 2050 and the liberalisation of the market in order to provide a basis for an in-depth debate on the independence, power and involvement of the various players.

In addition to formal legal structures, informal networks and processes also shape energy policy. In view of this, the second part of the study will complement the formal analysis of legal aspects with a qualitative analysis from the political science perspective. The aim here will be to identify the effects of EU provisions on Switzerland’s practice.

In the third part of the project, the analyses of formal legal aspects and informal processes will be supplemented with a policy impact assessment. Here the focus will be on determining whether the Europeanisation of Switzerland’s policy of promoting renewable energy is likely to favour or hamper investments by various private-sector players.


The declared priorities of the complementary study are as follows:

  • To analyse the regulatory differences between the EU and Switzerland in the context of the implementation of Energy Strategy 2050 and the liberalisation of the market
  • To examine the formalised state structures in the energy sector and assess the impact of Europeanisation on the mandates of the involved players
  • To identify the impacts on investment decisions in the private sector, with an emphasis on the readiness of households and private individuals to invest
  • To develop scenarios and recommendations for the integration of the Swiss electricity market into the European system

The main aims here are to answer the question as to what the “Europeanisation” of Switzerland’s energy policy would mean for the Swiss energy system in terms of achieving the objectives of Energy Strategy 2050, and to determine which reservations exist with respect to the EU-compatibility of Switzerland’s policy instruments.


The complementary study will examine the impacts of the Europeanisation of Switzerland’s energy policy. Some of the key elements of the planned electricity agreement between the EU and Switzerland are already known because the agreement is intended to extend the scope of application of European energy legislation to Switzerland. However, the negotiations on an institutional framework agreement between Switzerland and the EU have stalled, as a result of which the publication of the exact wording of the draft electricity agreement has been delayed. In view of this, the complementary study is to work with two scenarios: “direct Europeanisation” via a new bilateral electricity agreement between Switzerland and the EU, and “indirect Europeanisation” without an electricity agreement (for example through an autonomous adaptation to the European energy framework).

In order to be able to assess the impacts of Europeanisation on Switzerland’s Energy Strategy 2050 and on the current and future actions of players in both the private and the public sector, the study will incorporate findings from the fields of legal, political and administrative science.

Original title

Integration of the Swiss energy system into the European energy policy

Project leaders

  • Prof. Matthias P. Finger
  • Prof. Peter Hettich



Further information on this content


Prof. Matthias P. Finger Chair in Management of Network Industries (MIR)
College of Management of Technology (CDM)
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
+41 21 693 00 01

Prof. Peter Hettich Professor for public economic law as well as construction, planning and environmental law
Institut für Finanzwissenschaft und Finanzrecht (IFF-HSG)
Universität St.Gallen
Varnbüelstrasse 19 9000 St. Gallen +41 71 224 29 43