Switzerland participated in the negotiations of the EEA agreement with the EU and signed it on 2 May 1992 and applied for EU membership on 20 May 1992. In a Swiss referendum on 6 December 1992, membership of the EEA was rejected. Subsequently, the Swiss government suspended EU accession negotiations until further notice. By ratifying the second round of bilateral agreements, the Federal Council in 2006 lowered the characterisation of Switzerland`s full adherence to a “strategic objective” to an “option”. Membership continued to be the government`s objective and a “long-term goal” of the Federal Council until 2016, when Switzerland`s request, which had been frozen, was withdrawn.   The request was adopted in June by the Council of States and then by the Bundesrat.    In a letter dated 27 July, the Federal Council informed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union that it was withdrawing its request.  Contracts with the EU have allowed the free movement of goods, services, capital and people. These include the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the Free Movement of Persons Agreement and the Dublin Agreement. Although Switzerland has no official influence on the content of EU law and EU policy and does not have an obligation to automatically accept changes in EU law, the so-called guillotine clause provides that, when an agreement is denounced, the entire stock of contracts is zero and not sharpened. On 22 December 2016, Switzerland and the EU reached an agreement under which a new Swiss law (in response to the referendum) would require Swiss employers to hire job seekers (Swiss nationals or not registered in Swiss employment agencies) while observing the free movement of EU citizens to Switzerland so that they can work there.  While InstA builds on Switzerland`s sectoral approach to limited integration European integration, initiated by bilateral agreements, the EEA proposes a comprehensive approach and full market integration.
This “Black Sunday” in the history of relations between Switzerland and the EU marked the beginning of the “bilateral path”. Following the rejection of the EEA, the Swiss government negotiated bilateral agreements with the EU as the basis for its cooperation with the EU. This is called the “guillotine clause.” While the bilateral approach theoretically guarantees the right to refuse the application of the new EU rules to Switzerland, the clause limits the scope of application in practice. The agreement on the European Economic Area contains a similar clause. However, when the EEA was created in 1994, several developments hampered its credibility. First, Switzerland rejected the EEA agreement in a national referendum on 6 December 1992, hampering the full integration of the EU and EFTA into the EEA. In addition, Austria had applied for full membership of the EEC in 1989, followed by Finland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland between 1991 and 1992 (Norway`s accession to the EU was rejected by referendum, with Switzerland rejecting the EU`s request after the EEA agreement was rejected by referendum).