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Officially the Swiss Confederation has a long history of armed neutrality, it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815—and did not join the United Nations until 2002. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably, it is not part of the European Union, nor the European Economic Area (and thus does not use the Euro currency). However the country does participate in the Schengen Area and the EU's single market through a number of bilateral treaties.

Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Therefore, the Swiss, although predominantly German-speaking, do not form a nation in the sense of a common ethnicity or language; rather, Switzerland's strong sense of identity and community is founded on a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, and Alpine symbolism.

Switzerland has organised four EU related referendums. In 1992 (on Switzerland's accession to the European Economic Area, which was rejected), 2000 (bilateral agreement), and two referendums in 2005 (on the accession into the Schengen area and the Dublin Convention).

Currency: Swiss franc

Population: 8.1 million