A letter from the Swiss to the EU

Written by on February 20, 2014 in Swiss politics - 13 Comments
Swiss and EU flags

Picture courtesy of Swissinfo

Imagine the people of Switzerland writing a collective letter to the people of the European Union. Ten days after the vote on capping immigration, what would they say? Here’s one possible epistle:

Dear neighbours

First of all let us make it clear that we don’t hate you, but we do find it hard to live next to you. Surrounded by you, in fact. So to help us get along better, we thought it might be useful to say what we want from our relationship.

  • We want to be free and independent
  • We want to have our own currency
  • We want your money in our banks
  • We want our goods in your shops
  • We want your research grants for our universities
  • We want our students to be able to go to your universities
  • We want your votes at Eurovision
  • We want our votes to be recognised unconditionally
  • We want your trucks to pay to use our tunnels and trains
  • We want our airlines to have access to your skies
  • We want to have tariff-free access to the single market
  • We want to be in Europe not part of it

But we don’t want you. At least not so many of you, and only for those jobs that we can’t or won’t do ourselves. We know we’re going back on the pre-nuptial agreements we signed but that’s life. Things change, mainly our minds. We don’t expect you to understand us but we do expect you to accept our decision without any fuss.

Looking forward to seeing you soon, hopefully during your next holiday here.

50.3% of the Swiss population

PS If you do come and visit, bring your own cake as we’re having ours and eating it.

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13 Comments on "A letter from the Swiss to the EU"

  1. Gianluca February 20, 2014 at 8:08 pm · Reply

    Oh yeah, except that we are a small country, with high prices (so you’ll excuse us if we get a little angry when wages go down) and with a quarter of the population that is non-Swiss (oh I almost forgot, we are xenophobes). This vote doesn’t mean we hate foreigners, it means that there so many that things are becoming a little difficult. Just come to Ticino to see how we fast you can go from Lugano to Chiasso…and the fact that the majority of the cars have an EU plate maybe means something.

  2. Rose February 20, 2014 at 10:28 pm · Reply

    Well… technically it was only 23% of the population… Surely if they’re going to base laws on these votes, they should be compulsory? Even if they have the option “weiß nüt / macht nüt”
    I think a lot of them must be wishing they’d got off their Hintern to vote…

    :)

  3. Hugo February 21, 2014 at 12:15 am · Reply

    @Gianluca – If your example of choice is the possibility of traffic then you really need to reassess what is beneficial and negative… Large exporting industries in Switzerland employ something like 40% foreign workers, not due to lower wages (although you could argue they’re lower than they would be with Swiss only staff), but due to them wanting to expand their business and there just being insufficient potential workers in Switzerland. If you want to change that then push for more education in these areas, not blocking out workers that will just cause the business too contract.

    Also worth pointing out that the regions with the largest immigrant populations tended to vote against this motion in the referendum, Ticino strongly aside though.

  4. Lynx February 21, 2014 at 2:55 am · Reply

    You’d think the vote was about boycotting the EU 100%, but maybe this is not such a bad idea. As a EU member and Swiss citizen, I fully support the Swiss in protecting their country and jobs. Personally, I think they should also get rid of Schengen – free movement of criminals and illegal workers.

  5. Colin Wheeler February 21, 2014 at 9:13 am · Reply

    This is a narrow minded and mean view of a situation that you seem to know very little about, clearly written in a fit of childish tantrum. You have turned from being insightful to deconstructive criticism. For myself, this article is for a parting of ways with you as an author and blogger. I need read not more of this puerile vitriol.

    • Diccon Bewes February 21, 2014 at 9:55 am · Reply

      Sad to see you go but clearly you don’t have a sense of humour.

      • Richard Angstmann February 27, 2014 at 7:01 pm · Reply

        I 100% read this as a lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek version of the events arising from the recent vote and frankly find it quite surprising that it could have been taken in any other way! I chuckled anyway! :)

    • Ashley April 10, 2014 at 1:14 am · Reply

      “I need read not more,” you don’t make sense and I doubt anyone takes you seriously. Please develop a sense of humor in the near future.

  6. Eric Montandon, Worb February 21, 2014 at 11:50 am · Reply

    Franz Hohler – a Swiss cabaret-performer and author – said a couple of years ago: “Die Schweiz wartet darauf, dass sich Europa ihr anschliesst”.
    This means: Hohler already summarised with serious humour what Diccon wrote in his article.

  7. Julian February 21, 2014 at 1:15 pm · Reply

    This post is obviously satire and not to be taken seriously.

    However, as mentioned before: You speak in the name of 50.3% of the Swiss population – which is nonsense. Only roughly half of all Swiss people voted in the first place. That means 50% of all Swiss said neither yes nor no. The actual numbers would be 25% yes, 25% no, and 50% we don’t care.

    And even speaking in the name of ‘only’ 25% of the Swiss population is nothing but pretension – how would you know what the average voter really thinks?

    • Diccon Bewes February 22, 2014 at 9:47 pm · Reply

      All true Julian, but the point is that it is exactly that ‘only 25%’ of the Swiss population that is now directing policy affecting everyone. They have no idea what the average voter thinks but they are speaking in everyone’s name. Everything that results in the next few months, whatever that is, will be done because that 25% said yes on 9 February

  8. T.Martin Lesh February 24, 2014 at 10:59 pm · Reply

    …. and now just for the record .. todays NYTimes webpage is reporting that the Swiss anti – immigration referendum will directly affect enrollment at Swiss Universities as CH will no longer be honoring agreements with several EU countries in the future on student enrollment .

    [ I’d place the article link here but I’m not sure that is allowed . so I’ll just say its in the European news section of the international pages NTTimes website [ .com ] today .. 2/24/14 [ in US speak ]

    FYI Diccon .. as a US citizen with family in CH and the intent of retiring to CH in the next ten years may I say that both the recent articles/posts on the subject have been IMO very balanced .. and sadly realistic . As I said before … anything but a pleasant subject … but its been some of your best writing so far

    • Diccon Bewes February 25, 2014 at 12:18 pm · Reply

      Thanks for the info (please do post the link so that everyone can read the article). And for the kind words. It isn’t an easy subject and one which inflames opinions to such an extent that some people cannot countenance any view other than their own, sadly.

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