Switzerland’s Top Party Initiates Referendum to Close Borders
The Swiss People’s Party (SVP), a nationalist-populist faction that currently holds the most seats in Switzerland’s Federal Assembly, will end ‘free movement’ agreements with the EU, returning full immigration controls to Bern.
The initiative has been approved by the Federal Chancellery and must now garner 100,000 signatures by July 16, 2019, before it can be put to a national vote, pending further consideration by parliament. If successful, the Swiss government would have one year to negotiate the termination of various agreements with Brussels.
Key arguments from the initiative include –
“A free and self-determined country like Switzerland has to control immigration itself, as most of the successful countries in the world do. It would never occur to them to grant over 500 million citizens of other states a legal right to immigration. Rather, many countries tighten their immigration laws against the background of global political developments with the aim of aligning immigration strictly with their economic needs, their security and the country’s potential.“
“Since the introduction of the free movement of persons with the EU, we no longer determine who is allowed to come to Switzerland and who does not. This must be over. The limitation initiative requires that immigration be regulated and controlled independently by Switzerland.“
Switzerland is not an EU member state, but maintains bilateral agreements with the bloc, including free movement permissions within the Schengen Area which enable EU citizens to live and work in the country, in exchange for Switzerland’s ease of access to the European ‘single market.’
However, immigration has quickly become a sore subject in Switzerland as net population growth is approaching 80,000 per year, with nearly one-quarter of the country’s 8.3 million inhabitants now being foreigners, as well as another 300,000-plus citizens of neighboring countries who cross borders daily to work in Switzerland and enjoy its comparatively higher wages.
Nearly half of foreigners in Switzerland are collecting welfare benefits, and an influx of migrants are changing the culture, and contributing to a rise in crime and a deterioration of Switzerland’s world-renowned reputation as one of the safest countries in the world.
“Our country has undergone immigration in recent years like never before. Its population growth has exploded to that of a third-world country,” said Lukas Reimann, President of Action for an Independent and Neutral Switzerland, which co-authored the initiative. “Apart from the mountain regions, Switzerland now has one of the highest population densities in Europe.”
SVP leader Albert Rösti echoed these sentiments, saying, “A free and sovereign country like Switzerland must autonomously regulate immigration on its territory. Most of the world’s best performing states are doing this.”
Read more at newswars.com