The Swiss will pay dearly for voting out fellow Europeans

European Parliament. EU - Switzerland Interparliamentary meeting in Brussels. (EP Audiovisual Services, 23/04/2013).

European Parliament. EU – Switzerland Interparliamentary meeting in Brussels. (EP Audiovisual Services, 23/04/2013).

Xenophobics, racists and far right political extremists all over Europe have celebrated a razor-thin win of 50.3% in a Swiss referendum last Sunday, favoring an initiative “against mass immigration”. The vote was introduced by the country’s far right-wing Swiss People’s Party and was meant to block the free entry of EU citizens in the country, despite the 2004 EU-Swiss agreement on the free movement of persons.

However, the joy of some mulish headed Europeans is not shared by 1,444,428 Swiss who voted no (49.7%), starting from the business and financial community and the center and left-wing parties and reaching to the French-speaking cantons. Speaking about numbers of people directly affected by this outcome, over a million EU citizens live in Switzerland and another 230,000 cross the border daily for work. About 430,000 Swiss live in the EU.

Brussels roars

Reactions from Brussels are very strong and go as far as questioning all the almost one hundred bilateral agreements between the two sides. This pack has made Switzerland an integral part of EU’s internal market of goods, services, capital and labour. After the rejection of full EU membership in 1992 by the Swiss people, Switzerland and the EU agreed on a package of seven sectoral agreements signed in 1999. They covered the free movement of persons, technical trade barriers, public procurement, agriculture and air and land transport (road and rail). A special scientific research agreement fully associated Switzerland into the EU’s framework research programmes. A new set of agreements was signed in 2004 covering Switzerland’s participation in Schengen and Dublin, taxation of savings, processed agricultural products, statistics, combating fraud, participation in the EU Media Program and the Environment Agency.

Yesterday though, the Commission and the European Parliament have put all that on hold. A Press release issued by the EU’s executive arm says that “Free movement of persons is a central pillar of our relations with Switzerland, and part of our overall package of ties”. Obviously the meaning of this statement is that a renegotiation of the agreement covering the free movement of persons will entail a renegotiation of all the agreements.

Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament, explained that in detail. He said, “It is difficult to limit the free movement of citizens and not limit the free movement of services, for example. We have many negotiations ahead.” The EU dignitary had more to say. “It is up to the Swiss government to decide if they suspend the agreements with us or not,” and he added, “As long as Switzerland does not react, the agreements exist.”

EU threatens with total eclipse

Yesterday many government officials all over the EU observed that in the entire package of the bilateral agreements with Switzerland there is a “guillotine clause“. It provides that if Switzerland is no longer able to fulfill the conditions of the agreement on the free movement of people, all the other agreements signed in 1999 are at risk, under a clause which is built-in into all the agreements. If the 1999 agreements fall, the new 2004 package will fall too, because it is based on the former.

The European Commission takes a step further, questioning all its agreements with the EFTA countries which are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The Commission reminds everybody that in the European Council Conclusions on relations with the EFTA countries of December 2012, Member States reiterated the position already taken in 2008 and 2010 that, “the present system of bilateral agreements had clearly reached its limits and needs to be reconsidered”.

Given that, the Commission concludes that “horizontal issues related to the dynamic adaptation of all agreements to the evolving ‘acquis’ (the corpus of the EU legislation), the homogenous interpretation of the agreements, but equally the need for independent surveillance, judicial enforcement and dispute settlement, all that need to be reflected in EU-Switzerland agreements”. The Commission singles out Switzerland from the other EFTA countries because of the magnitude of the deals and of course because of last Sunday’s referendum.

Swiss food for thought

On the political level the EU’s anti-immigration parties and groups which celebrated the Swiss vote on Monday may be obliged to rethink their stance today. The reason is that the Swiss decision may affect commuting workers from the EU countries bordering Switzerland that is Germany, France, Italy and Austria. In short, if the Swiss case is analyzed reasonably, it leads directly to national conflicts because action brings reaction.

Despite all that, all the anti-immigration right wingers of Europe, took the Swiss ticket and flew high. Marine Le Pen in France, Geert Wilders in Holland and Heinz-Christian Strache in Austria rushed to propose the Swiss way for their country. Obviously they don’t stop on that. Most of them want the EU to dissolve and the European nations to start fighting each-other again.

The problem is that their voters don’t see it like that, and stop the analysis on chasing out the immigrants. However, the Swiss case will also give the opportunity to many Europeans to think twice before they vote for Eurosceptic and extremist parties in the May election. Switzerland voted to throw out fellow Europeans and this fact may move some consciences.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Protecting European consumers: Safety Gate efficiently helps take dangerous COVID-19 products off the market

EU trade agreements deliver on growth and jobs, support sustainable development

European Youth Event 2016 – bridge between youth and policy makers

Civilians ‘must never be a target,’ says UN in Afghanistan, amid troubling number of casualties during Ramadan

Digital business is Europe’s best hope to get back to growth

Australia urged to evacuate offshore detainees amid widespread, acute mental distress

Strict alcohol laws which cut intake more than 40 per cent in Russia, linked to historically high life expectancy

Unemployment and exclusion brings EU cities to boiling point

Cyber-Risk Assessments: the vaccine for companies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Why the global trade of chemicals is key to COVID-19 recovery

These are the world’s best universities by subject

ISIS fighters fleeing Mosul for Syria can topple Assad. Why did the US now decide to uproot them from Iraq?

If we want to solve climate change, water governance is our blueprint

EU revengefully shows no mercy to Cameron by demanding a fast and sloppy Brexit now

Turkey presents a new strategy for EU accession but foreign policy could be the lucky card

The EU Parliament sidesteps the real issues about banks, while the US target the Eurozone lenders

These scientists are using sound waves to filter plastic fibres from washing machine wastewater

State aid: Commission approves € 1.6 billion Polish scheme to compensate companies for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak and provide liquidity support

How climate change can be addressed through executive compensation

North Korea missile tests ‘deeply troubling’: senior UN official

A Young student assesses the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

How we planted more than 5,000 trees during the COVID-19 pandemic

Draghi cuts the Gordian knot of the Banking Union

‘Democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people’ must be met urges Guterres, following military removal of al-Bashir from power

5G security: Member States report on progress on implementing the EU toolbox and strengthening safety measures

These are the ‘positive’ tipping points that could slow global warming

EU Budget: A Reform Support Programme and an Investment Stabilisation Function to strengthen Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union

African cooperation on peace ‘increasingly strong’, Security Council told

Why the Greeks forgave Tsipras’ pirouettes around austerity and voted again for SYRIZA

Who can compel Wallonia to unlock CETA, the EU-Canada free trade pack?

EU adopts €55 million support package for Syrian refugees and local communities in Jordan and Lebanon to mitigate coronavirus pandemic

Eurobarometer survey: Majority of EU citizens positive about international trade

Social, cultural diversity ‘an enormous richness, not a threat’ Guterres declares calling on investment for a harmonious future

Plastic waste from Western countries is poisoning Indonesia

EU at UNGA 76: working together to address global challenges

Atomic agency cites concerns over Iran testing sites, offers COVID-19 assistance

EU-China Leaders’ meeting: Delivering results by standing firm on EU interests and values

ILO’s Bureau for Employers´Activities to publish new study on women in business and management

Yemen: ‘A great first step’ UN declares as aid team accesses grain silo which can feed millions

Kids who live in the countryside have better motor skills, a study in Finland has found

Taxation: Commission refers Poland to Court for failing to remove certain tax exemptions on the use of energy products by highly polluting businesses

This project is using AI and drones to track and protect great white sharks

The global issue of migration in 2017

High anxiety calls for innovation in digital mental health

An alternative to the future of antimicrobial therapy

IMF: How To Deal With Failed Banks

World’s most powerful tidal turbine pumps out greener electricity in Scotland

Coronavirus fears may have driven over 300,000 UK smokers to quit

On the Global Day of Parents, UNICEF is urging support for parents to give children ‘the best start in life’

The dangers of data: why the numbers never tell the full story

COVID-19 shows why we must build trust in digital financial services

Can a Bavarian Oktoberfest beer indulger bring down the Berlin government?

Combatting antisemitism requires ‘solidarity in the face of hatred’, says UN chief

EU’s new sanctions on Russia into force “in the next few days”: strength, weakness or strategy?

EU to set up new European Partnerships and invest nearly €10 billion for the green and digital transition

Courage of terrorism survivors underlines ‘urgency’ of UN Investigative Team’s work in Iraq

Women-Friendly Spaces for Rohingya refugees: A place for protection and care

Plans to keep EU budget funding in 2020 in the event of a no-deal Brexit

Most US students aren’t learning about climate change. Parents and teachers think they should

GSMA Mobile World Congress Americas

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: