GENEVA -- Switzerland, for centuries an island of peace in troubled Europe, is increasingly haunted by fears of isolation in an emerging super-continent.

The wealthy country has traditionally regarded itself as a ''special case,'' treasuring its much-vaunted neutrality and stability that has helped attract capital from all over the world. But as the newly democratic states of Eastern Europe look toward the 12-nation European Community for economic deals and political cooperation, Swiss leaders do not hide their worries about being left out.

''It would be like being the only one in a school class not invited to join the soccer team,'' said Franz Blankart, Switzerland's chief negotiator in talks on European integration.

Pressure for full EC membership is increasing from companies anxious to share the economic benefits promised by the removal of trade barriers at the end of 1992.

But at the same time, there are loud warnings from conservative groups that EC membership would jeopardize Switzerland's independence and its system of democracy.

The government says it's not ready to join the EC. Instead it is in complex talks aimed at a far-reaching agreement between the powerful community and the European Free Trade Association.

Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland are members of the loosely knit EFTA. Austria already has applied for EC membership, swallowing fears for its neutrality.

Talks with the community are meant to lead to the creation of the European Economic Space (EES), providing for the free movement of goods, people, capital and services among the 18 European countries and creating a market of 350 million people.

Of all the EFTA members, Switzerland is the most dependent on the EC for trade. According to government figures, 57 percent of Swiss exports went to EC countries last year, and 74 percent of Swiss imports came from the EC. But the path toward creating a super European market has been rocky. Swiss demands for exemptions from certain provisions demonstrate the problems that would beset an application for full Swiss membership in the community.

For example, the government wants to keep the right to limit the influx of foreigners. Full EC membership would rule this out.

Switzerland also could be forced to change its system of holding national referendums. The EC also has objected to giving Switzerland and others in EFTA an equal say in the decision-making process, increasing speculation that the talks will end in failure.

The Swiss government says there would be two scenarios: a go-it-alone policy or full EC membership. ''The go-it-alone policy for me is an unrealistic solution,'' said Swiss Foreign Minister Rene Felber. ''The consequences would be isolation, which would be unbearable... . "

The powerful farming lobby doesn't share this concern. It is opposed to EC membership, fearing a drop in agricultural prices and an opening of markets that are now protected. By contrast, a government report has said that business concerns would, on the whole, benefit from EC membership.

Economics Minister Jean-Pascal Delamuraz has said that EC membership is a long-term option but dismisses pressure for an immediate application as ''premature.''

A pro-EC grouping of politicians, businessmen and publishers plans to launch a proposal on community membership to gain the 100,000 signatures required under Swiss law for a national referendum.

One group opposed to joining the EC, the Action for an Independent and Neutral Switzerland, says the country will lose out in the European integration process and its democratic traditions will suffer.

Political leaders do not underestimate the influence of the group's movement and still flinch at memories of voters' rejection in 1986 of a proposal to join the United Nations. Officials won't speculate on what will happen if a national referendum throws out the proposed EC-EFTA accord.

''There is more fear of isolationism now {than 1986},'' said Felber. ''We have to be optimistic. We have to believe we are European.''