swiss referendum

Last Sunday, 50.3% of the Swiss population voted in favour of a cap on “mass immigration” in a country-wide referendum. The outcome of the referendum (or, as the media have labelled it, the “stop mass immigration” proposal) forces the country to abandon its treaty with the EU on the free movement of people, which has been in force since 2002. Apart from the impact this may have on the Swiss economy, it also risks other bilateral trade agreements Switzerland has signed with the EU, as the “guillotine clause” gives the EU the power to terminate all other bilateral treaties if one agreement is not applied. How do YOU think the EU should respond?

We had a comment sent in recently from Smills, asking simply:

How do you think the EU Member States will react to the Swiss referendum? Is Switzerland (which is not part of the EU) going to lose access to the Single Market? And will the referendum results encourage the UK and others to follow suit?

The free movement of people is a key pillar of the EU’s Single Market, which includes Switzerland and accounts for half of Swiss exports. But as EU Commissioner Viviane Reding put it, the EU is not Swiss cheese: “You cannot have a Single Market with holes in it”.

Martin Schultz, President of the European Parliament (and the  Social Democrats‘ candidate for the next President of the European Commission), said that Switzerland “can’t take the advantages of a free internal market and stay outside on other questions at the same time”. The  Liberal Democrats,  Centre-Right and the  Greens have also said the free movement of people is “not negotiable”.

Meanwhile, the Eurosceptics across the EU have expressed strong support for Switzerland and the outcome of the referendum, including Nigel Farage’s UKIP party, the French Front National, Austria’s FPÖ and Italy’s Northern League. It’s unclear how sympathetic British Prime Minister David Cameron will be to the referendum results, having previously suggested the EU should “slow down” labour access between Member States.

We recently spoke to Edit Herczog, a Hungarian MEP with the  Social Democrats, and asked her how she would respond to Smills’ question. She was clear that she didn’t think the EU would invoke the nuclear option and cut Switzerland’s access to the Single Market:

Edit_HerczogI don’t think the referendum in Switzerland will have any negative consequences for the Swiss or others. The EU is about peaceful negotiation and not black or white “in or out” thinking. There are a range of different relationships countries can have with the EU, so it should be about a colourful range of options, not black and white thinking.

How do YOU think the EU should respond? Should it accept Switzerland’s decision to limit the free movement of persons without further implications? Or should the EU reconsider its other bilateral agreements with Switzerland? And will the outcome of the referendum galvanize EU member states into holding similar referendums on the free movement of people?

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – hatikvahjay

131 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar

    The picture you used for this article is very wrong and quite old: the Swiss did not vote on Schengen!!!

    • avatar
      Razvan-Victor Sassu

      They didn`t vote for Schengen directly, but according to the clause of their bilateral accords, if they cancel one they cancel all. So getting out of Schengen can actually be a consequence of the vote, indirectly.

  2. avatar
    George Kodelas

    Should Switzerland choose to limit the free movement, then the EU should also implement other limitations. It is not a member state, had voted No to EU two decades ago, but it gains the free market profits. No country can pick unilaterally ?ccasional what it wants from the EU!

    • avatar

      The problem is that because the agreement between the EU and Switzerland that we have at present is mutually beneficial, there is little we can do to “punish” Switzerland without harming our own interests.

    • avatar

      Aha so you propose economic war or even complete war to get us to become a EU member?
      Lets not kid ourselves, at the end of the day this is all about us not wanting to join the eu, Brussels just cant accept the fact that there is a country in the heart of western europe that says no, no matter what they say, no matter what they do its NO NO NO, and they will never get over that because afterall we all know Brussles whishes to rule EVERY piece of land in Europe, people like to call Switzerland small, sure compared to Germany and France it is, but try walking from Geneva to Zürich, this is a noticable & sizable piece of land.
      Respect Switzerlands Independence!

  3. avatar
    Panos Mentesidis

    i find the swiss reaction normal…i am surprised that it didnt happen sooner. who would want citizens from eu when half the nations are almost bunkcorrupt…or with societies that are torn apart and dissindigrading like the Greek society. i am pretty sure Britain will follow,then Norway,Sweden,Denmark and then Germany…it was a nice try guys but you couldnt really manage it…I think US diplomats showed us how valued and respected the EU is around the world. You took a perfect idea and executed..period! a friendly message to all MEPs and policy makers..

    • avatar

      “who would want citizens from eu when half the nations are almost bunkcorrupt…or with societies that are torn apart and dissindigrading like the Greek society.”

      What does the economic or political situation in an immigrant’s country of origin matter? If you were an employer looking for a programmer or an engineer, would you turn down a job applicant because they come from a country that is in debt or has high unemployment? Surely the only thing that matters is the person’s skills and qualifications.

      The fact is that many of the EU citizens living and working in Switzerland are highly skilled professionals.

    • avatar

      do you not care about peace and what happened during th war?

  4. avatar
    Kimmo Linkama

    To me it looks like the Swiss have been taken for a ride here (pun intended). Lose security? Lose jobs? Come on. That’s typical populistic fearmongering.

    Agreements are supposed to be honoured, so from that standpoint the guillotine clause could well be invoked. On the other hand, Swiss law (as far as I understand) says referendum results are binding, whereas in EU countries they might not be.

    It might be best to sit down for a while to see what this will actually mean. I haven’t looked up what the Swiss mean by “mass immigration”?perhaps it won’t change anything in practice.

    In the long run, however, either you follow the rules of the club or you’re out. Harsh, maybe, but it won’t do that some countries pick just the raisins out of the bun.

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      It’s a right-wing party that supported this. The Far-RIGHT is usually against these thing you just espoused. SO yes, they are taken for a ride.
      “Oh you lost your jobs, it’s those immigrants’ fault”.
      Or the fear of the “invasion of romanians” ( which still has not happened in Britain, but they are still trembling )

  5. avatar
    Ana Georgieva

    Until when is the EU going to impose double standards? Making one nations reacher for the sake of others, what is this democratic genoside?

  6. avatar
    Kimmo Linkama

    Okay, let’s look at the issue from another angle. The immigration caps are, whether anyone dares to say it aloud or not, intended to stop large numbers of people from the poorer member states moving to the richer ones.

    So, do we want people to earn a living through their own work and pay taxes for the common good?or would we rather keep everyone in their own countries and have our taxes raised so we can provide help to those poorer members?

    An example. Out of a population of 1.3 million, up to 100,000 Estonians work regularly in Finland. Finnish society is not collapsing, and the Estonians earn roughly 3 times as much as they would in their home country. Provided they could find work.

    In the richer EU member states, many people want cushy, well-paid indoor jobs. Even with unemployment numbers being high, there’s lots of room for manual labour: the jobs locals don’t want to take.

    Sorry friends, but it seems that the most vocal opponents of the free movement of people and goods shouting “they will take away our jobs and our women” are those who don’t have a job or a woman in the first place.

    • avatar
      Dawid Karczewski

      Finally somebody said it correctly!!!

  7. avatar
    Paul X

    This arrogance that the EU policy is the only option and Switzerland must conform or suffer the consequences is unbelieveable

    The people used their democratic right to show their disapproval of the free movement policy and still the EU tries to blame and threaten them instead of accepting that it is their policy that is flawed

    This ranks alongside the “you will repeat your treaty referendums until we get the result we want” fiasco in Ireland and its no wonder people doubt the democratic legitimacy of the EU

    • avatar

      I don’t think moest people object to the right the Swiss have to express their opinion through this vote. However, the fact that they used their democratic right doesn’t mean that there cannot be any consequences to their choice.
      The ‘threats’ are justified because they are based upon the way the EU rules were set up, which was to ensure stability (as a way to avoid war and true conflict).
      If people really do not want freedom of movement they should accept that they cannot have free access of goods to the European market as well. It is really a quite simple quid pro quo. Now if they are fine with that, there is no reason to repeat referendums or force them to change their minds. The only question is whether they realize the extend of their choice..

    • avatar

      progess is only made through collaboration not oppositon.

  8. avatar
    Paul Duthoit

    Europe should move in two directions. A deeply integrated Eurozone with banking and fiscal union – maybe even eventual US of Europe if that is what they want. And a looser customs and trade union for those that want to retain their independence. That way we can all co-operate in a constructive way. What is wrong with that approach?

    • avatar

      Nothing, as long as my country isn’t part of that banking/fiscal union.

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Well the “wrong” part is people from your country will probably not want integration but WILL want benefits of free trade and travel.
      And a problem arises.
      *Someone* – namely you – gets a free lunch. And that’s a spark for problems.

  9. avatar
    Panos Mentesidis

    sorry kimmo but you forget a people react to immigration..and not just unemployed people and working class..but the actuall middle classes that are not gone yet. in most cases you will find rich eu citizens being against immigration…even when it comes to people from other EU states..personally i am afraid to go and work in Germany now cos i feel i will get attacked by a neo-nazi gang..i got attacked twice so far where i putting a cap not putting either way it doesnt matter..travelling between eu states will be tougher and in the end will go back to visa systems within the eu as well simply because europeans are not integrated enough…and there is so much internal racism in the EU its really remarkable how the whole holds together.b

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      It’s not that bad in Germany really. And let’s not bash the germans too much, i Athens it’s a war zone that it best avoided at night due to those Golden Dawn freaks.

  10. avatar
    Panos Mentesidis

    sorry kimmo but you forget a people react to immigration..and not just unemployed people and working class..but the actuall middle classes that are not gone yet. in most cases you will find rich eu citizens being against immigration…even when it comes to people from other EU states..personally i am afraid to go and work in Germany now cos i feel i will get attacked by a neo-nazi gang..i got attacked twice so far where i putting a cap not putting either way it doesnt matter..travelling between eu states will be tougher and in the end will go back to visa systems within the eu as well simply because europeans are not integrated enough…and there is so much internal racism in the EU its really remarkable how the whole holds together.b

  11. avatar
    Kimmo Linkama

    Panos, you’re right about extremists, internal racism and not enough integration. But that’s hardly the middle classes. It’s more like the losers who spend their evenings in bars and pubs investing their (hard-earned!) government benefits in the alcoholic beverage industry while cursing the government, the EU and anyone they can think of for their own passivity.

    It’s also true that part of the middle class is against immigration. I think, though, that they’ll get used to immigrants pretty soon after they realise that otherwise their garbage won’t be collected, their buses and trains not driven, their offices cleaned, their hospital-ridden relatives taken care of and so on. For the middle class, I think the problem is mainly that they’re not used to different-looking faces.

    • avatar

      What nonsense. Typical of anti-democratic (pro-EU = anti-democracy) elitists who always dismiss anything that doesn’t conform with what the apparatchiks of the Eurosoviet Union want.

    • avatar

      (pro-EU = anti-democracy) is already a quite debatable statement, and so is calling everyone that does not agree with your view elitist.. Now I won’t call it typical anything, not because you will call me communist, but because I don’t believe it will add to my point..

  12. avatar
    Kimmo Linkama

    Panos, you’re right about extremists, internal racism and not enough integration. But that’s hardly the middle classes. It’s more like the losers who spend their evenings in bars and pubs investing their (hard-earned!) government benefits in the alcoholic beverage industry while cursing the government, the EU and anyone they can think of for their own passivity.

    It’s also true that part of the middle class is against immigration. I think, though, that they’ll get used to immigrants pretty soon after they realise that otherwise their garbage won’t be collected, their buses and trains not driven, their offices cleaned, their hospital-ridden relatives taken care of and so on. For the middle class, I think the problem is mainly that they’re not used to different-looking faces.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      Why is it everytime there is mention of controlling immigration do people drag out the old racism accusation?

      Controlling immigration is nothing to do with racism or xenophobia It is purely down to economics and capacity
      It may surprise some people but countries like the UK do not have endless streets of unoccupied houses just ready for people when they fancy popping over from Europe, nor is there lots of empty hospital beds, or half filled classrooms, spare seats on trains, empty roads, we have finite space and facilities and they are pretty well used up.
      And we do not have any busses or trains standing idle waiting for someone else from the EU to come over and drive them and as for immigrant health workers they are poorly trained and a liability because properly trained staff have to waste time mentoring them

    • avatar

      PaulX,I couldn’t have put it better,these clowns who scream racist are blind to the points you make ,and I agree with every word you say,nice to read a post I so totally frank!the problem we have is that they still don’t get it !

  13. avatar
    Gabry D'Onofrio

    I think that every state should let citizens know more about EU politic so that people could feel more integrated and being part of a union

    • avatar

      We Swiss dont want to be part of the EU.

  14. avatar
    Gabry D'Onofrio

    I think that every state should let citizens know more about EU politic so that people could feel more integrated and being part of a union

  15. avatar
    Panos Mentesidis

    kimmo..i like your optimism..i dont like the bashing of the working class tho…not all working class people spend their money and benefits on booze..this shows that you dont belong in the working class and you are dissconected with that part of for getting used to immigrants..yes at first but then things change rapidly in a very bad way…hopefully in 100 years from now where the EU 2.0 will be put together people will be more tolerable towards other cultures..but now i keep my eyes and ears open when i travel within the EU. i love the idea of the EU but i hate what its become…

  16. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    No more cherry picking.. If they want out of Schengen they lose their free movement and other benefits that they had while being in the zone… All decisions must have consequences.. This racist attitude towards Romanians Bulgarians and othe Eastern or Southern Europeans has to stop.. The Swiss are happy to gather the World’s money in their country but they do not want the people.. Well if they were not a tax haven and a place for rich people to stash money by avoiding paying taxes then fewer people would want to go there.. Just a thought.. Now that the limitations un the free movement for Bulgarians and Romanians has expired, the Brits are getting their knickers in a twist and the Swiss want out!! They are indulging us with their known conservative xenophobic self!! Bless!!

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Same for Britain.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      The EU should accept the democratic decision of the Swiss people.

      Despite the fact that Switzerland is NOT in the EU, if the EU continues to threaten and bully Switzerland or even worse still deliberately harm Switzerland such actions will GREATLY undermine further the idea that the EU is a fair and balanced organisation of co-operating nations.

      The EU must learn that it cannot force a nation to love it [the EU], particularly if the EU keeps harassing, threatening and screwing any such nation in question.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      The UK WILL cherry pick! Why? Because the current deal offered by the EU (which only accounts for a declining c6% of all UK trade – if you take into account the Rotterdam effect and ignore trade with Ireland) is too asymmetric [more so than ANY other nation in the EU] in favour of the EU/Club Med nations.

    • avatar
      Christos Mouzeviris

      No one bullies the Swiss..Where did you see that? But all decisions have consequences and the Swiss must accept that.. They want to limit immigration from EU states? Fine, their wish will be respected.. But the EU states will have to also act accordingly and limit the immigration flow from Switzerland.. around 400.000 Swiss are living in EU nations.. Plus if you restrict free movement of people, that goes hand to hand with free movement of capita and goods, then expect limitations in the other two as well.. Simple!!

    • avatar

      Agree with Christos, if explaining to people that their choices have consequences stated in an international treaty is bullying then I must revise my opinion on bullying..

    • avatar

      Mouzevirus Swiss people have always been welcome guests in other European countries, you know why, because we cause virtually no problems and we walk with Money! And we like to tipp! I highly doubt that Germany would allow a situation where Swiss people can longer go to germany and spend their money, which by the way is over 1 Billion Euros a year! But then again I dont expect a Greek to understand this.

    • avatar
      Dawid Karczewski

      S.K., let me repay your racism with the same coin: “I think it’s better you go back to milk your cows, make cookcoo clocks, take mafia money into your banks or steel jewish property and then the rightful owners (the jews) to the nazis cause that’s all you Swiss know to do”!

  17. avatar

    No, i think the eu/brussels should learn from this.
    I think the europhiles got a desperately needed wakeup call. Wow democracy works, now what???
    1 for the people, 0 for the dictators
    I know they wont listen, no extremist listens, its the nature of the beast. But i can tell you the euroboys will hasten their empire building now at all cost.
    But hey what the hell, a small victory for democracy and freedom, reminds me of good ole days before the euro.
    Now lets see how the other countries in the zone respond, i wonder where the next democratic leader will pop up and show what he or she is made of??
    Referendums make europhiles gasp and tremble, very very sad to see people like Merkel/Rutte/Hollande and othereurophiles crap in thier pants and start to whine , threaten the swiss, and conjure up doomsday senarios if thier will is not respected. Nice folks huh, europhiles .
    If we absolutley have to, lets keep it a shared but hated currency.
    All the leaders in europe have to do is ask the people what they want, if they were to do this in all the countries with in/out referendums all this BS could be avoided, and like the outcome or not it is what it is and we will all learn to live with it . Things cant go on the way they are, the people deserve repect, we arnt something to feed off of, or scrape of your shoe.
    Brussels needs open and honest politicians whom are willing to give the people what they need , thier day in court , not backroom dealers and sneaky banksters/powerbrokers.

    I applaud the swizz goverment for giving thier people the respect they deserve we need more like them……

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Having access to a SPECIAL trade market is NOT a RIGHT, it is a PRIVILEGE the EU can GIVE or TAKE at any time.
      And it should decide to TAKE it away from the swiss NOT for “punishing” them for their decision, but because their decision VIOLATES AN AGREEMENT.
      Do you lot even know how international law WORKS!?

  18. avatar
    Kimmo Linkama

    Panos, aren’t you drawing the parallel yourself? I’d never bash the working class. I’m self-employed in a somewhat volatile industry, so I’d say I’m pretty well aware of the ups and downs in life. I have the greatest respect for people who keep society going through their work input. But I do have an issue with freeloaders.

    Gabry, spot on. The EU has done a dismal job of marketing itself to the citizens. As it stands, those two letters tend to come up only when some kind of crisis or political turmoil is cooking.

  19. avatar
    Panos Mentesidis

    kimmo. mb i misunderstood…no one likes free loaders..but in the next EU elections i think a clear picture of where the EU is heading will be painted..lets hope that EU politicians will actually see the cliff infront of them..but i highly doubt it.

  20. avatar
    Panos Kontogiannis

    Swiss people are free to deside whatever they want, but they will have to pay the consequences. IMHO since their country is just an island inside the EU they cannot afford to pay these consequences and EU must make sure they change their vote.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      “Swiss people are free to deside whatever they want, but they will have to pay the consequences”

      Your statement just about sums up all that is wrong with the EU. It is very hard to get anybody to say something positive that is gained from membership but it is easy to find threats about what will happen if you are not in
      It is some club that you are only in becasue of the fear of what the rest will do to you if you are not….oh, and you also have to pay for the privilidge

    • avatar

      I think one of the benefits of being a part of the EU pretty much shows in the fact that people feel it is a ‘threat’ if the option of them being pushed out is seen as mean.. It kinda suggests that they don’t want to leave because there are some positive parts about staying within the Union…

    • avatar

      Bonjour,Monsieur,Madame,je viens de lire votre commentaire est je tiens absolument à ce que vous comprenez bien que nous les citoyens Suisse nous choississons nous même par référendum ce qui est bien pour notre pays.En clair notre Gouvernement Fédéral à Bern propose est le peuple dispose!!!.C’est ça la démocratrie.Alors pour répondre à votre commentaires,nous avons rien à en payé les concéquences vis à vis de l’UE,car dieu merci,nous ne faisons pas partie de votre Club!!!,est j’ose éspérer que notre pays n’en fasse jamais partie.Soyez sans crainte d’autres pays au sein de l’Europe,vont suivre le même chemin que la votation que nous avons prise en Suisse.Alors votre UE,commence à nous faire doucement rigoler,tous les jours un peu plus.Cordialement votre Hildebrand.LORETAN

    • avatar

      @Hildebrand Pardon, mon français n’est pas tres bon, mais je pense que on doit repondre en anglais. L’article est en anglais… moi aussi, je peux repondre en espagnol, mais qui peux-moi comprendre?

      Mais je peux tout comprendre. Tu as ton opinion, et nous, nôtre. Les citoyens suisse ont eu le référendum, mais l’UE non. Peut-être, les citoyens de l’UE peuvant avoir un autre, sur la liberté du mouvement des citoyens suisse.

  21. avatar
    Kimmo Linkama

    One of EU’s biggest problems, as I see it, is lack of European-level statesmanship. There are too few politicians willing to really throw themselves into promoting the common good. The voters at home? You’re right, the next elections will be interesting.

  22. avatar
    Nuno de Magalhães

    CONGRATULATIONS to the Swiss people for having the guts to decide against all the shit that is now the “free movement” within the European Union. The percentages of immigrants are compared as follows:
    – Italy 6.8%
    – France 6.2%
    – Germany 8.8%
    – SWITZERLAND 22.3%
    This is the ANSWER to the Switzerland of mme. merkel, mr. Barroso and other stains that inhabit the EU. This is the true Democracy, Participative Democracy, where the State is the People, not liars and corrupted politicians as “representatives” or intermediaries. In Switzerland, a petition of 100,000 signatures in a referendum that has the support of at least two cantons and over 50% of the Swiss people may amend the Constitution Switzerland

    • avatar

      SWITZERLAND 22.3% […] This is the true Democracy

      How many of those 22% were allowed to vote in the referendum?
      Is it really a democracy if >20% of the population work and pay taxes like everybody else but have no political rights?

    • avatar

      @Anon, a foreigner is exactly that, every country has Citizens and foreigners, Citizens usually have an absolute right to enter the nation, to work, to live there and to vote, if a foreigner does not have this then this is not strange or discriminatory it is simply the law of the land, any foreigner who whishes to vote must earn that right and the best way of doing this is by becoming a citizen, so dont come here with this crap about the 20% not being allowed to vote.

  23. avatar
    Limbidis Arian

    Well it’s pretty simple how the EU should react.
    They broke their side of the bilateral agreement and we will break ours – no more free trade with Switzerland.
    Let their economy bleed for a while, then they will come begging back.
    It’s quite simple really.

    Neo-nazis and far-right loons all over Europe must be shown what happens in the real world when they get their wish.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Limbidis Arian
      The WTO would sanction the EU if it tries to impose non-free trade restrictions on Switzerland.

      EU-fascists like you should ‘read for a while’.

    • avatar

      Free trade benefits only the rich and the corporations, and has been devastating for the middle class and the poor.

      Switzerland would benefit from such EU actions. Better off out! Would be true for my country Netherlands too. No one needs the red-tape-laden EU customs union.

    • avatar

      If you honestly think the Swiss will come begging you truly are deluded,why in the name of all things holy would anyone or any country in its right mind come begging to a collapsing ,un democratic , nightmare of corruption that is the EU .
      The only ones begging for membership are those countries who would happily milk the other member states for every penny they can get.
      Wake up sir ,you still don’t get it do you ?

  24. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Mobocracy is not Democracy… While many hail the so called briliant Swiss example of democracy, this development reveals some faults in it.. When populism prevails and the masses are given a voice with no proper information then what we’ve got is rule of the masses that is a deviant form of democracy.. According to Aristotle always!! ;-)

    • avatar

      How dare you call this Mobacracy, how dare you, for you to use such insulting language against a most peacefull and democratic decision of the Swiss voters shows who the real mob is, the mob is people like you who hate democracy, people like you who cannot accept that another opinion can be right as well people like you are truly dangerous, and you as a Greek who has had violence on his streets and fascism rising you off all people think you have a right to berate Swiss people about something that you dont have and know nothing about DIRECT DEMOCRACY!

  25. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    The EU should accept the democratic decision of the Swiss people.

    Despite the fact that Switzerland is NOT in the EU, if the EU continues to threaten and bully Switzerland or even worse still deliberately harm Switzerland such actions will GREATLY undermine further the idea that the EU is a fair and balanced organisation of co-operating nations.

    The EU must learn that it cannot force a nation to love it [the EU], particularly if the EU keeps harassing, threatening and screwing any such nation in question.

    • avatar

      And the EU will respect their decision by cancelling all trade agreements.
      Your internal decisions are yours to make = democracy.
      OUR decisions are OURS to make = democracy. YOU however may not LIKE our decisions = nobody cares.

  26. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    A Europa deve preocupar-se com os seus problemas da Eurozona e de uma Europa de estados democráticos uma União Bancaria e fiscal mercado transatlântico mais transparencia nas alfandegas agora o referendo da Suiça houve erros de pessoas com atitudes eurofóbos muitos exigentes eles não tiveram um bocadinho de dignidade humana

  27. avatar
    Kimmo Linkama

    Sure, every sovereign country makes its own decisions. But look at the picture in the opening message: just a bit populistic, isn’t it?

    Anyway, if Switzerland wants to enjoy its position as an outside “partner” of the EU, it might be a good idea to adhere to the principles laid down in the mutual agreement.

    Nuno, in the article behind your link it says “EU turned a blind eye to a European Commission statement”?ehh? who is the “EU” here?

    Even if there are hiccups in the workings of the EU, it’s still the best thing that ever happened to Europe after WW2.

    • avatar

      No its not. The EU is a retread of the Soviet Union. Its actually the worst thing since WW2 because the EEC should never have been replaced by it.

  28. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    some people need actually to be transferred back in time before the EU, back in the ’50s and the cold war, when many regions of Europe were underdeveloped, baring the scars of two world wars to see how their life would be without the EU institutions…

    • avatar

      Um life in Switzerland would be great without EU institutions, you can go ahead and claim otherwise, but we Swiss will just laugh all the way to the bank while count your money.

  29. avatar
    Razvan-Victor Sassu

    The EU should negotiate with the Swiss Government about the new situation and have a firm position on the topic. If they will allow Switzerland to continue with the other bilateral agreements, other countries may see it as an example and do the same. In years that can be a threat to the free movement principle all over the EU and can fuel the anti-Eastern Europe current.

    Another referendum with clear options for the Swiss people – either with the EU or not at all – can be the best option at the moment, after the EU-Switzerland negotiations clarify the final options that are on the table.

    In the end, you cannot just pick the benefits of the Single Market, free movement and so on but not make any concessions instead. It`s a give-and-take, as always.

  30. avatar
    Leonam Gonçalves

    EU should respect Swiss people decision by cancelling every single bilateral agreement with Switzerland. It is as simple as that ! I am sure Switzerland is more dependent on EU than the other way around…

  31. avatar
    Pedro Redondeiro

    Talk about it with them! However, it is fact that the swiss federal goverment is tottaly against it and despite all that this was a far right, local party initiative, so this may or may not be to go foward, since the majority of the swiss states are pro-european just like, the high swiss federal identities! ;)

    • avatar

      The majority of people are ‘far right, local party’? Dream on! In my country Netherlands the majority would also vote to limit immigration. And that includes myself. Bring on the referendum as the ‘free movement’ has been nothing short of a disaster for us.

      I am pro-Europe, therefore I am anti-EU.
      Pro-democracy. Anti EU.
      Pro elected government, anti Eurosoviet Union.
      Pro stable currency, anti-wealth-destroying-Euro

    • avatar

      @Marcel: The fact you use “Eurosoviet Union” is a clear sign you ARE a FAR_RIGHT supporter.
      Only they use that moronic comparisson.
      Western brats who have no idea what the Soviet Union was but are too awash in capitalism propaganda to check the facts for themselves.
      If i hear any more of you lot about “free markets” too i’ll burst laughing.

    • avatar

      I am Swiss and I am not for canceling the treaties but if they get canceled so what!
      So a business might have to fill out som emore papers, so a rich man might have 1 million less SO WHAT, Switzerland will survive, Switzerland will live just fine, but dont forget this what you are calling for is a double edged Sword, Switzerland will face consequences but so will Germany, France, Itaky, Austria, UK etc. and quite franky the entire World Economy as Switzerland is very important.

  32. avatar

    We need a similar referendum here in Netherlands. I assure you it will not be close like the one in Switzerland. Politicians and corpo-rats might be in favor of mass/unlimited immigration, but the people are not. Bring on the referendum!

    Time to limit the number of immigrants, regardless where they are from.

    • avatar

      We should have one, if only to rob you of that very wrong view you have that all of the Netherlands agree with your opinion on the EU. Besides the referendum was not on unlimited immigration, nor mass immigration it is about the freedom of movement of people within the EU. So it has nothing to do with other immigrants/ refugees.

  33. avatar
    Xavier Schoumaker

    Some are entrapped in their own miserable prison. No wonder they are ignorant and easily manipulated by populist fears.
    Too bad our wealthy people decide to dump all the fruits of their criminal activities in Switzerland, out of reach from justice, transparency and democracy.
    For every step the Swiss make towards the EU, a step is taken backward on another topic – it’s pretty clear there was no need for this vote.
    Except for criminals with lots of money – that’s your motive.

    • avatar

      Who you think FUNDS the “right-wing” party calling for this?
      Who you think ALWAYS FUNDS far-right parties anyway?
      The rich who benefit from tax havens or ideological social darwinists as these people are.

  34. avatar
    catherine benning

    Reading through this thread is extraordinary.

    On the one hand you have those who love democracy until democracy rules that is. As in Switzerland you show the resentment toward the people of that country openly being able to show they are suffering culturally and financially from their experience with EU law on their policy of mass immigration.

    Others feel the so called ‘rich countries’ owe them a living, as those rich countries won’t survive without these downtrodden workers fleeing their restrictive poverty stricken countries if they don’t take over the ‘mill’s’ the rich countries grew rich cultivating. What strange thinking.

    And if you look further into those who claim to love democracy here, you will see that notion only rules until the truth outs. And this is from those who, mostly, come from countries that have lived under extreme subjugation of their people until they joined the EU. Talk about if you allow mass of immigration from cultures you cannot and do not understand, you will be subject to their rule before you can say Jack Robinson. Note it is not the other other way around, where they will be relieved and happy to at last live within a free society. Instead they will bring with them the consent to enslave. Take note Brussels, mass immigration from cultures opposed to our free and democratic societies is not good for the Europe people. Or, is that exactly what the political correctness you have been floating for years was all about. The import of wage slaves.

    The Swiss are fortunate indeed for they live within a true democracy that the rest of us can only dream of. Swiss ‘Direct Democracy’ is the only way the European people will be able to save their countries from the devastation of inept politicians.

    And to those of you who now spout how the rich countries many of you immigrated to will not continue to function should you dry up and leave. Let me offer you a few home truths. The reality is this: The rich countries indigenous population built those states into what they are today, long before any of you knew what a decent standard of living looked like. The downfall came with the our politicians submitting to the politically correct dogma of handing jobs to those who landed on our shores in their doves as they could not thrive at home. And those same politicians did this to reduce the living wages of those that made those countries into the rich civilized environments you yearned for. What they were and still are in part was done without any of you in our midst.

    Yet you fail to see, what you wanted is what you are trying to remove. You wanted to live in countries with good living standards, wonderful free health services, free education systems, rights for workers you didn’t even know existed, child benefits, welfare services from cradle to grave, all fought for over the centuries by those who built it with their blood sweat and tears. Things you were never able to manufacture in your own homelands, for had you been able to do so, you would not have needed to leave your home in order to bleed us dry.

    Someone earlier in the thread tries to tell us without their entry our care services would rot and die. When in fact It is immigration on a massive scale that has created the near death of our care services. Their influence of barbarous behaviour toward the sick and elderly in the jobs they have taken from the indigenous, has left us in chaos. We cannot compete with your willingness to work for nothing and your brutality toward your fellow man. That same brutality we see and hear toward your fellow man, the Swiss, as they take their lives back into their own hands through their ballot box.

    Switzerland is in the throes of saving itself from this horror. How very fortunate they are to have their hard won right to do so.

    And one more notion you may like to take on board. No one across the whole of Europe was asked if the policies forced on us by the EU rulers we bow under, the kind you are calling to be forced on Switzerland, was what we wanted. Had they asked we, like the Swiss, would have given a resounding no.

    The entry into the EU from the countries who cannot support themselves was likewise not sanctioned by those who were doing well in their hard work. None of us would have voted for our taxes to be used to the point of our own destruction had we been asked.

    And instead of any sense of gratitude to us for remaining silent as you filled our lands, crowing with resentment toward us as you do it, at the same time you are calling for us to suffer for your inability to fight on your own behalf. What you are in fact calling for, is you own demise as you do this. Yet you are blind to it.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      To reciprocate an earlier comment of yours Catherine….strangely, I find myself agreeing with a lot of what you have written here…well done ;-)

    • avatar

      You’re delusional…

  35. avatar
    Jokera Jokerov

    The EU should respect the free will of the Swizz people. It`s a concept called democracy.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      Thanks, Paul X. Akin to you, I’m devoted to democracy. From my point of view, the only sure way citizens can retain their hard earned rights.

    • avatar

      And it should also respect international law – under which the EU is OBLIGATED to cut “free” from “free trade” with the Swiss.
      A bilateral AGREEMENT has been breached making it null and void.
      Thus previous relations will be resumed and Switzerland will pay tariffs like any non-EU country.

      I don’t understand what it is so hard for you people to comprehend, seriously !?
      They are not PUNISHING the swiss, they are RESPECTING THE INTERNATIONAL LAW !

  36. avatar
    Con Rad

    Well I think the move has to be proportionate to the situation. But first what comes to my mind EU should impose restrictions for Swiss citizens – of course in terms of proportional percentage not numbers of citizens.

  37. avatar

    @Tarquin Farquhar:
    That’s cute, the WTO is an AMERICAN institution. It is not “international”.
    And a lot of countries dn’t recognize its liegitimity ( as shouldn’t the EU ).
    So who gives a damn about their “protests” and “sanctions” ?

    The EU can and WILL impose restrictions – like to any non-EU nation – to Switzerland AND the UK ( if the latter leavesthe bloc ).
    You can’t be OUTSIDE of a fucking club but DEMAND privileges of PAYING members, dammit !
    It’s logic !

    • avatar
      Paul Duthoit

      The WTO is not ‘American’. It was created internationally to improve international trade. Yes some countries (including the US) try to weaken it by their own protectionist policies. That is to the detriment of all counties. The EU is not going to do itself any favours by isolating itself nor by trying to ‘punish’ the Swiss. No one is demanding privileges just common sense and pragmatism. You are just being daft Cyaven…

    • avatar
      Paul X

      Switzerland’s contributes over 1.03 billion Euros which goes to fund European projects in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Cyprus. These projects are overseen by the Swiss themselves so you can be sure they will be run far more efficiently than an EU managed project therefore the real value of their contribution is probably double

      And it’s well known that the UK is the 4th highest contributor to the EU budget

      I would suggest this more than covers their membership fees and should “logically” give them more rights than those members who are getting paid to remain in the club

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      Please try to refrain from swearing, its a sign of an unintelligent mind.

      It matters not where the WTO is sited [you seem to have a manic distaste for all things American, are you a racist BTW?] – just remember that the EU will do as its told to do by the WTO – otherwise it will be sanctioned [as a club member or it can leave, the club.

      I am sure that if the EU [a small bloc BTW] did leave the WTO, that the WTO would NOT penalise the EU ‘just to teach it a lesson’ thereafter [like you aggressively appear to want].

      Indeed, I am sure that the WTO would try to woo the EU post-withdrawal – this is what I expect the EU to do to the UK, ‘IF’ the UK is not allowed to cherry pick.

      Your concept of a ‘club’ departs radically from mine – you seem prepared to impose and enforce membership on those who fare badly as a result of club membership, whereas I believe that club membership should be a voluntary, mutually beneficial affair, such that members can leave if they so wish.

      A club that forces/bullies members to be members is not a club its a REGIME!

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      What an aggressive nincompoop you are!

      The WTO may be sited in the USA but is a multi-national organisation. It is soooooo powerful that the EU will kow-tow to same. END OF.

      The EU ‘club’ you describe appears more like an EU REGIME.

      Judging by your aggressive comments REGIME’s seem right up your street.

  38. avatar
    Marius Aparaschitei

    No decision comes out of a context. I see the Swiss vote as a result of the growing racism and xenophobia in some member states.
    For any non-EU state, or even EU(UK) conditions must come as a package. All or nothing.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      Raicsm..blah, blah…..xenophobia, blah, blah…..people really need to go look up the definition of these words before using them

      The Swiss are not anti any particular race or nationality, they just don’t agree with some ill thought out free movement policy dreamed up by the EU. A policy which was originally only supposed to include free movement of workers, not anybody and everybody

      I assume supporters of this policy leave their front doors open and allow anyone off the street to wander into their house to use the toilet or lay down for a rest or even grab a bit of cash if they are hard up?

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Marius Aparaschitei
      ALL EU/EEA member states are of the same caucasian race ergo racism CANNOT apply!

      I despise people like YOU who confuse racism with culturalism – the two concepts are radically different.

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Writing “blah blah, Paul does not solve the problem or brushes it away.
      These votes ARE fueled by racism and xenophobia. But it is much more complex than that.
      Yes europeans have all of them a latent xenophobia but that doesn’t mean they will go out and form parties for such a cause…UNLESS…someone ( and i will leave you to guess who “someone” is ) brainwashes them that they are “under attack”.
      All these neo-nazi parties you see popping up have a siege mentality of “we must protect ourselves, our heritage from these ( insert random scape-goat of the day ).
      Reminder: last time this happened it was 1936 and the scapegoat du jour was “jews”. Think about that.

  39. avatar
    catherine benning


    What you are not asking yourself is, do you believe in the right of citizens to have a democratic society? And that, that right to democracy should also include all European citizens.

    Now if you do believe in democracy, why are you not calling for all EU citizens to be given a referendum on the issue of immigration? Direct Democracy, which the Swiss have and which under their law must be obeyed, is the only solution to dictatorship and subjugation of the people. The European people have been ignored in many of the enforced laws, brought in via the back door, that regardless of the majority being against them, they have had to adhere to. Doesn’t that strike you as anti democratic? It smells of North Korea to me.

    If, on the other hand, you do not believe in democracy, or the democratic right to vote against a policy offered by government, or demonstrate against, why don’t you set up or back a party who wishes to bring this kind of dictatorship into office? Be up front with your agenda, don’t hide behind the old ploy of we will punish you if you openly object to our enslavement. That is the trump of the old communist regime in Russia. Are you from that part of the world where democracy really get in the craw as you are not used to dealing with freedom?

    And whoever raised the old chestnut of racism, is a suitable candidate for treatment. It is becoming a sick mantra of the politically correct brigade who have no intellectual argument against a proposed agenda. In other words it is a fraud and supports a lost cause.

    • avatar

      “Now if you do believe in democracy, why are you not calling for all EU citizens to be given a referendum on the issue of immigration?”

      First of all, surprising as you may think, i don’t FULLY believe in democracy. Especially a democracy with an ignorant public. I mean look at the anti-EU comments here:
      “horror” “Euro soviet” ( this is a mark of right wing brainwashing ), “unelected people in the EU comission” ( nothing further from the truth in reality, in fact the so called “unelected comission” is MORE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED than your very own Westminster ) and the list goes on and on.
      UK is a basket of ignorance and xenophobia.
      No, i wouldn’t trust such a “democracy” where the Daily Mail has poisoned the minds of people for DECADES to be anti- EU.
      You have brits ignorantly chanting that 80% of UK laws are EU made. You have people screaming from their lungs that “worker rights” promoted by the EU, somehow are “evil” and need to be abolished.
      This is Thatcherite garbage, which of course the Right wing is pushing hard.

      I thought you were smart Catherine and could see beyond the lime light – obviously i was wrong. Look around and see both sides.
      “Old communist regime in Russia” ?
      I GREW UP in a communist controlled country, you westerners have NO IDEA how that regime was. You just use it as a scare tactic for gullible people who don’t know how it was.
      I know, i am not scared of this bollocks.

      “The European people have been ignored in many of the enforced laws, brought in via the back door, that regardless of the majority being against them, they have had to adhere to.”
      YES, there are SOME laws that indeed should be made more public. The latter ACTA debacle where the people rose and spoke and the EU finally listened.
      YES they are a bit disconnected from the people and YES that is a problem.
      But NO, the people ( actually far-right lunatics more like it )are wrong on the issues at hand now ( free movement ).
      This whole thing is a non-issue pushed by the corporate industry and it can be summed up like this:
      WE crashed the economy but we will SCAPEGOAT someone ELSE for it – immigrants, migrant workers….black people ( sometimes )…some might even go further with…JEWS(?)
      I mean seriously “Britain for britons” ? What does that mean?
      This isn’t racism and xenophobia?

      And if it is racism and xenophobia the *BLIP* the will of such people, they SHOULD be not listened to in such a case.
      The sheep are not deciding for themselves, the sheepherder does. And right now the “democracies” we have are made of sheep, sorry to say.
      Most people who complain about the EU don’t understand ANYTHING…ANY-THING about the EU.

      Have you been INSIDE one of the EU institutions? I have.
      Have you SPOKE to any EU employee? I have.
      Have you read the EU charter, the EU regulations and all the technicalities that keep it functioning?
      Of course you haven’t.
      In fact i bet most you didn’t. Because it takes a LOT OF TIME AND EFFORT TO DO IT.
      It’s easier to see the surface problem and complain about, right?
      Of course it is.

      AND that is exactly…EXACTLY what the corporate powers want.
      “Don’t look at who crapped the economy, blame someone else”.

      This whole situation REEKS of 1936.
      Economic crisis – check
      Rise of ultra nationalist parties – check
      All we need is a small man with a mustache and funny hair with good charisma to promise each nation their “lebensraum”.
      And then 60 years of progress will be undone in a matter of WEEKS.

      Europe has been here before and yet like children we FORGET our past and make the same mistakes.

      Instead of that what we got?
      The usual conspiracy theory garbage:
      “Oh it’s an euro-soviet AGENDA” – WHAT “agenda”? It’s all on the table. The EU’s laws are clear, you can read them online for crying out loud.

      “oh, calling bigoted people that are racist, racist is “not having an intellectual argument against an…agenda( seriously )”
      But they ARE racist!
      The internet is FILLED with clips of racists from all these so-called “national” parties you cheer for.
      UKIP’s Gordon Brown with his infamous “Bongo Bongo” comment. Remember him?
      BNP, EDL, or maybe you’d like a taste of french xenophobia and – i should say it already – NEO-NAZISM.
      Front National, who leader until recently was the WIDELY recognized RACIST : Jean Marie Le Pen, remember him? And his daughter is the same, she has been CAUGHT on camera with neo-nazi supporters.

      And about Geert Wilders the man who calls out of expulsion of citizens because they have the wrong religion?
      Or maybe Golden Dawn in Greece?
      You know, the guys with THIS song as “anthem”:
      Even their freakin’ FALG is made of nazi-like colors/symbols.

      And you have the gall to call THAT the voice of the people?
      TO HELL with the voice of the people then. They are misled and used by racist and xenophobes as just they are used by the corporate powers.
      Go back and analyze the problem, the REAL problem and then get back with a real reply. Don’t spew at me obsolete right-wing propaganda, i have become exceedingly efficient at dismantling it.
      Look at the real problem – hint: it AIN’T “immigrants”.

      As for the swiss, they have breached an INTERNATIONAL agreement.
      To make an easier comparison:
      you decide democratically in your own house to not pay taxes anymore and – not surprisingly – the state decides to cut your power.
      And then you are outraged at the perceived apparent “injustice” and “bullying” of the “big bloc that is the state” against the “democratic decisions of your house”.
      Hilarious, right?
      Yes, your logic is that screwed -up!

  40. avatar

    @Tarquin Farquhar:
    First of all, no i wasn’t swearing, just frustrated at this warped logic of “yes i can make choices but someone else should pay for them” of you people.
    Look the EU is a club. FACT.
    It’s “benefits” are the open market – FACT
    It’s “cost” is free movement of labor and people – FACT
    You get benefits for the cost, you don’t get benefits without cost and you don’t get cost without benefits.
    Any questions?

    • avatar

      The ‘open market’ is really a customs union that provides no tangible benefits.

      Destroy this customs union and we can have more trade. In fact, trade volume growth has lagged in the Eurosoviet member states as compared to ‘the rest of the world’.

      And by the way, anyone who doesn’t see the frightening soviet-esque structure being formed in Brussels is blind sir, blind. The EU is not, never has been and was never intended to be democratic. A bunch of government ministers using Brussels to bypass national parliaments has nothing to do with democracy. Nothing at all.

      The majority, particularly lower middle class and poor here have never benefitted from EU/EUro. These might be inconvenient truths to the enemies of democracy (= EU supporters) but around here we can see they are facts.

      The idea of democracy and liberty, which some people from eastern Europe somehow fail to grasp, is precisely that ‘the people decide’. And not a bunch of politicians conspiring behind closed doors to push through things the people do not want. Or them conspiring with corporations to write international treaties that exclusively benefit said corporations and hurt everyone else.

      Democracy and liberty must be transparent 100% of the time. And politicians who do not do what the people want must be automatically removed from office for doing so. Putting EU interests ahead of national interests should be regarded as a form of treason.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      You did swear dear chap – please re-read your own post for evidence. The fact that you try to deny it is truly singular.

      You don’t seem to understand that the EU is meant to be a club NOT a regime – members should join or depart if they so wish.

      Your war-like threats about sanctioning the UK if it leaves the EU are quite disturbing, I thought the idea of the EU was to prevent war NOT start one.

      Furthermore, sanctions work both ways. 6 million EU jobs rely on the UK (+ more than 1 million continentals live in the UK) whilst only 3 million UK jobs rely on the EU. Any scornful direct/indirect job losses foisted on the UK by the EU could result in double the job losses in the EU.

      Also, the UK would get to keep its £7billion annual EU net contributions and it would regain the £3billion/year it loses due to allowing the likes of Spain and Portugal to fish in UK seas. When you add on the savings the UK could make by dropping unnecessary EU bureaucracy c£27billion/year (according to the Open Europe think tank) departure from the EU would boost UK GDP by c2.5%, when you consider that c6% of UK GDP is with the EU then the maximum loss to the UK would almost equate to the predicted growth of the UK economy for 2014 + the 2.5% economic boost to the UK for not being a member of the EU.

      Additionally, the EU would be ham-strung by the WTO if it did bother to initiate illegal trade sanctions/terms.

      Furthermore, if the UK left the EU then the EU would ultimately become a Latin dominated trading bloc as France, Italy and Spain would be the 2nd, 3rd and 4th biggest EU nations [both in terms of population and economic size], something I fear that Northern Europeans would be averse to due to the fact most EU Latin nations tend to be relatively corrupt [NO EU latin nations are in the top 20 least corrupt nations] as evidenced by TI data year in year out.

      I am confident that if the EU did NOT allow the UK to pick its cherries (some of which even an EU zealot like you would appreciate are only fair – like giving the UK its expensive fishing grounds back and introducing greater democracy and accountability to all EU institutions) then its exit would damage the EU more than it would the UK.

      The UK ‘might’ arguably suffer in the short-term BUT within a few years a Commonwealth Union would be formed wherein the members would either be rich [per capita and/or in land and resources] or growing with fast and massive populations.

      The EU can no longer afford to dole out billions to under-developed newer/new EU nations like it did to Spain to civilize and industrialize it, the money is simply not there any more, it needs money, it needs net EU contributors.

      In short, if the EU wants to progress, it NEEDS the UK to be in its ‘club’. For that there is a price to pay – a very large bowl of ripe, plump cherries.

  41. avatar

    @Paul Duthoit
    I am “daft” and “not pragmatic” because i advocate the EU plays by the same rules as Switzerland?
    Wow….again i will repeat because it seems people have problems reading around here:
    The free trade is a PRIVILEGE of being into the EU. You are OUT of the EU, you pay tariffs.
    Switzerland BROKE an agreement with the EU so the EU is not obliged to give out anymore “privileges” – such as the free trade i was speaking of.
    What is so hard to understand?

    It’s like you stop paying your taxes and the state is “daft” and “not being pragmatic” ( lol ) for cutting your power.
    Do you listen to yourself before you post this kind of stuff?

    • avatar

      Boohoo, someone dared to challenge a ‘deal’ with the Eurosoviet! Send in the KGB! Open the Lubyanka! Alert the state security service! Expel them! Boycott them! Don’t these peons realize it is a crime to disagree with the Eurosoviet?

  42. avatar

    The EU should analyze why the Swiss voted the way they did and Mrs. Reading should keep here mouth and respect the vote of the Swiss people. What is the mandate of Mrs. Reading? Could I vote for Mrs. Reading. No! Who represents Mrs. Reading?

    Real democracy is still functioning very well in Switzerland, something that can’t be said about the functioning of democracy within the European Union. The EU should respect the vote and the free will of the Swiss people. Mind you, when the different member states within the EU would allow the same referendum in their country the outcome would probably be the same as the Swiss outcome. That is what Mrs. Reading should be worry about, the ‘democratic deficit’ within the EU itself!

    • avatar

      “What is the mandate of Mrs. Reading? Could I vote for Mrs. Reading?”

      Viviane Reding is the EU Commissioner for Justice, Citizenship and Fundamental Rights. The EU Commission represents the executive branch of government on a European level; an EU commissioner is the equivalent of a government minister at a national level. In most (all?) European countries, government ministers are not directly elected, they are appointed; their democratic mandate comes from the fact the government needs the support of the democratically elected parliament in order to govern.

      It works the same way on a European level; European Commissioners are appointed, not elected, but they need the support of the directly elected European Parliament in order to govern.

  43. avatar
    Limbidis Arian

    @Tarquin Farquhar: You and Marcel are quite thick-headed it seems.
    Let me explain to – again – in simple terms even a toddler can understand:
    The EU is a club with rules and privileges. One such privilege is the free trade zone.
    You can only get that privilege if you are part of the club or have an AGREEMENT with the club.

    Switzerland now has neither. Henceforth they do not receive any privileges or benefits.
    AGAIN, any questions!?

    “War like threats” these are called International Law, i suggest you pick a Law book and read them. You break an international agreement the other side is not obligated to uphold his, sometimes there will also be sanctions.
    That’s how the world works.

    And for the 3rd time to repeat myself because it seems you can’t READ very well:
    This situation is like you STOP paying your bills, then complain the STATE cuts your power.
    In Switzerland’s case, hey they can decide whatever the hell they want in their “house” but the state STILL won’t deliver electricity if they don’t “pay the bills” – to make my metaphor EVIDENT to someone who missed it.

    As for the UK, yes perhaps – although i doubt it – 1 million continentals live in UK. They can comeback, but so will 30% of your exports vaporize.
    And we don’t have to make “threats”, lol PLEASE leave. PLEASE i beg you LEAVE.
    I am tired of bitchy Britain and the bunch of whinny brits who cry all over the internet on every site i look at about the “evil EU who makes our laws”.
    Ill informed, ignorants who spam their garbage on the net.

    PLEASE, the whole EU now wants you OUT.
    Get out already so we can keep moving forward. You anti-EU brits drive me nuts with your craziness.
    Your beloved UKIP is a tool for the corporations, no wonder everyone calls it THE TEA PARTY of England.
    They are just as insane as their brethren in America.

  44. avatar
    Limbidis Arian

    Language probably, some regions of Switzerland speak a form of Austrian ( similar to german ), some french.

  45. avatar
    Limbidis Arian

    @Marcel your childish “boohoo” answer is that of either a troll or an ignorant of the international law in effect here.
    Your blatant obsession with the right-wing terms ( supposedly scary to westerners ) “Euro-Soviet” is hilarious.
    Especially since you personally have not lived under such a regime as the “soviet” and have no real idea how it was, all you did was hear propaganda from other sources and then spew it here.
    Aside from that you fail to understand how state politics work, in relation to the states around them. You think that this is some sort of anarchism where whatever you decide in your own country is suddenly law to the world – typical imperialist mentality, no wonder britain never learns.
    So far the EU hasn’t “sent in the KGB” ( laughable again because you didn’t even know what it was until you probably heard of it from someone ) but probably won’t even need to. Just revert to tariff trading as before and let the economic factors kick in.
    Switzerland can choose whatever they want…INTERNALLY but they cannot force the EU to give them anything without giving something in return.

    I am guessing you are 20-ish years old or something since you have the mannerism of a teenager and speak of things you clearly do not understand with an air of superiority and smugness.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Limbidis Arian
      No need to get your knickers in a twist old bean, your abuse merely highlights you as an emotional, aggressive type unable to articulate cogently and politely.

      FYI, I hope you can handle the Maths:

      UK savings if it left the EU:

      £7billion/year EU net contributions
      £3billion/year due to repatriation of fishing grounds.
      £27billion/year by abolishing unnecessary EU red-tape.

      The above equates to a c2.5% UK GDP increase EACH AND EVERY YEAR.

      Also, the EU only accounts for c6% of UK trade.

      If you then consider that the UK is scheduled to grow at c2.5% from next year on then the significance of the EU to the UK is, well, erm … ‘INSIGNIFICANT’.

      Either the EU gives the UK a BIG, BIG, BIG bowl of cherries or the UK will move-on and leave Germany [a great country] to fork-out billions propping up unstable, morally and financially bankrupt Cub Med nations.

      Oh, BTW if the EU pulls any tariff ‘stunts’ then it will be penalised/fined by the WTO.

      PS: You can’t force a member to be part of a ‘club’ otherwise the ‘club’ is in fact a REGIME.

  46. avatar
    Paul X

    @ Limbidis
    ” but so will 30% of your exports vaporize” do you have proof of this? I very much doubt that if the UK left the EU all trading will stop but just in case it does he here’s some facts for you

    UK imports £6 billion more from the EU than it exports so you don’t need to be an economics professor to work out who stands to lose more if the EU starts playing trade games do you?

    Now back to the Racist /Xenophobia issue, you said (quote) “They are just as insane as their brethren in America”

    Now tell me why your (and many others in Europe) rampant anti-Americanism is any less Racist and Xenophobic then the Swiss peoples feelings about other European countries?

    You can’t be selective in how you define Racism and Xenophobia just because it is internal to the EU

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      If you need an EXPLANATION of why the Tea Party is insane, then ask an american. He might have the PATIENCE to do it, i do not. Too much to write and this is not the subject at hand.
      Nice statistics, but these are not forecasts – economists left right and center agree that UK leaving the EU would end in disaster for UK and in shruging for the EU.
      I don’t think europeans hate the US, we hate the US GOVERNMENT – and if you can’t see WHY, again, ask an american, msot of them hate it too.
      In fact the US congress is at 3% approval rating now.
      Now stop throwing red-herrings and stick to the subject.

  47. avatar

    I can understand the Switzerland People.
    We must stop the uncontrolled immigration.
    I live in Germany and we have very much problems with Immigrants (mostly Muslims), even if we not allowed to say that in Public coz we get called Nazi coz of our past. But if we walk into the subway we must be in fear to get hit (to death) by muslim people. I think it must be the islamic culture because we DO NOT HAVE PROBLEMS WITH ASIANS/RUSSIANS or other People.


    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      I have visited Germany, I have lived in Brussels for a few years also.
      In neither places the muslims have not “hit” me or even looked at me funny even.
      They were all friendly and one also helped me with my metro card.

      You are just prejudiced.

    • avatar

      Stupid Racist I live in Germany for all of my life and never got attacked by immigrants. People like you ruin our beautiful country and poison us with your hate. Its a shame that someone like you calls himself German. You are just a paranoid islamophobic who doesnt know shit about Germany … and of course you are free to say anything in Germany even this racist shit.
      We dont have problems with muslims but we have problems with racists like you.
      As a German I apologize for this idiot.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Limbidis Arian
      Nissan said the same when the UK refused to join the Euro!

  48. avatar
    Paul X

    Limbidis, my post was very much on topic, It was you who came out with some fairy story about the UK losing 30% of its exports if it left the EU

    I responded with a link to a very reliable source that proves otherwise

    It is you who is resorting to Red Herrings because you have been proven wrong

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Limbidis Arian

      Your COMMUNIST DOMINATED upbringing.
      Your blinding support for the EU REGIME.
      Your DISTASTE for democracy.
      Your WAR-LIKE threats on behalf of the EU REGIME.
      Your inability to accept facts that cast the EU REGIME in a bad light.

      I am reminded of a certain quote, here I’ll paraphrase:

      You can take the man out of the gutter, but you can’t take the gutter out of the man.

      No wonder, you are so aggressive and so unaware of the downsides of the EU REGIME.

      Of course, given your unfortunate upbringing the EU must appear to be a world of milk and honey. To me and many others [in the Northern EU] not traumatised by having lived in such poor circumstances the EU REGIME is an inferior offering to what I [we] already have – hence we are at loggerheads.

      Might I suggest that you get some therapy as your sheer aggression is quite disturbing.

      BTW, the Swiss are NOT in the EU REGIME but they do contribute toward the EU budget circa SFr550million/year for the period 2007-2013.

  49. avatar

    I love Switzerland, I lived there for many years. I have many friends over there, but, I am not swiss. Despite my love for Switzerland, progess is only made through collaboration and not opposition. The repercussions of the second world war were horrific. Peace… this was Europe, this is Europe above all. And if the EU is changing, becoming suffocating, then open and collborative discussions must be taking place. Calling the EU arrogant does not help, calling Switzerland arrogant does not either help.

  50. avatar

    Why defend the EU in this? You have to look at why the swiss voted for this. Switzerland knows the EU is weak, and will just get weaker. Our so called leaders are to blame for that! They voted for this law, just like they will vote for others. To protect themselves!

    • avatar

      Ok…so each European country will just live within their own territory, don’t speak to others and if risk of another war breaking out.. the swiss can just hide in their mountains. If you’re telling me that this is the best attitude for peace and prosperity, and good relationships with country neighbours… well I worry for the next vote. P.s this is not a statement defending the EU but humanity, being both on the swiss side and EU side.

  51. avatar
    Paul X

    @ Kindling
    I wouldn’t bother replaying the old “Peace in Europe depends on the EU” mantra
    There is currently far more risk of serious civil unrest in certain parts of the EU due to uncontrolled immigration
    ..and you only have to look at Ukraine right now to see what EU “influence” does for world peace….

    • avatar

      I never said that; it doesnt depend on the EU. It depends on everyone; everyone with an attitude for collaboration.

  52. avatar

    and not resentment towards others

  53. avatar

    How should the EU respond to the Swiss referendum?

    Doing nothing. Let them love themselves, untill they will implode. The notorious isolationist nation looks like Albania during cold war, but they don’t see it yet.

  54. avatar

    The overwhelming majority of Swiss people reject EU membership, not out of hate for the EU but out of love for Switzerland, our system of direct democracy could never survive EU membership in one piece and most Swiss know this, every EU treaty is designed to bring about ever closer union, now for a EU member that might be ok but not for Freedom loving Swiss people, our position is not wrong, or antique it is simply the will of the Swiss people, a will that has been disregarded by the Bundesrat and the EU and numerous EU Turbo politicians and political parties. A country must have the right to say NO to eu membership without being threatened or harrassed as a result.

  55. avatar
    Steve M

    The EU should indicate its intention to terminate and renegotiate it’s agreements giving reasonable notice for Switzerland to put something else in place. A country does have the right to say NO, but it must also live with the consequences. The right to say NO without expecting any sensible readjustment of relationships is naive. Perhaps Switzerland is planning a ‘have cake and eat it’ deal like the naive UK Brexiteers wanted?!

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