The Swiss Resistance continues

It is interesting to note in EurActiv that the European Union claims it and Switzerland have ironed out their differences to move ahead with a process aimed at simplifying ‘without delay’ the complex network of bilateral agreements governing EU-Swiss relations.  But as always with the EU, things are not how they seem.

For according to nothing new was achieved. The Swiss Foreign Minister, Micheline Calmy-Rey, has made clear in her statements the EU position is that Switzerland must make concessions on its sovereignty in order to retain and improve access to EU markets.  However she has been quoted as saying:

Switzerland will never agree to be a de facto member of the EU when it is not taking part in the decision-making process. It is out of the question for Switzerland to adopt community law automatically.

Switzerland is not an EU member state.  It is an independent, sovereign nation comprised of cantons which are effectively states within a Swiss federation.  As such the cantons have an unrivalled degree of autonomy over taxation and legislation and are democratically accountable to their populations – something the EU bitterly resents.  So it is outrageous that the EU position as explained by José Manuel Barroso is that the EU:

… wants a more comprehensive agreement and automatic acceptance by Berne of changes to EU legislation, which the Swiss say would go against the principle of sovereignty.

It is like China saying it has changed a law and so, because Japan is a trading partner, Tokyo must automatically accept it and follow suit.  And that because China levies higher taxes, Japan must do the same instead of offering people and businesses an alternative that allows them to keep more of their money.

While a good number of Swiss politicians and diplomats are attracted to the idea of being part of the EU because of what’s in it for them, for the Swiss people the prospect of losing self determination is a price not worth paying.  Their resistance continues.  As is the case the world over, the interests of the political class are not the same as the interests of ordinary people.  What is saving the Swiss people from the EU are their democratic safeguards, something the people of EU member states have sat by and watched their political class subvert and dismantle.  Let’s hope the Swiss can prevail where our disengaged populace has so far failed.

9 Responses to “The Swiss Resistance continues”

  1. 1 Sue 09/02/2011 at 9:25 am

    The EU and especially that megalomaniac Barroso become more unpleasant by the day.

    How I wish we could get the hell out!

  2. 2 PaulH 09/02/2011 at 12:19 pm

    Thanks for this AM.

    I’ve been following this story for a wee while, mostly because it provides great material for a thought experiment I dabble with now and again.

    I’m Scottish, and admit to being on the fence when it comes to the whole independence thing.

    I’ve often wondered what Scotland’s relationship with the EU would be if we ever did become independent. My understanding is that SNP policy is to join up as quickly as possible.

    Personally, I reckon the kind of trading relationship that Switzerland and Norway currently have with the EU would be a much better option. However, given recent events, I’m guessing Barroso would have something to say about that.

    It’s quite frustrating being Scottish, anti-EU and an AGW sceptic. At least you guys South of the border have UKIP to vote for!

  3. 3 Johnny Rottenborough 09/02/2011 at 2:00 pm

    Barroso. Once a Maoist, always a Maoist.

  4. 4 RichardSmith 09/02/2011 at 2:29 pm

    @PaulH: “At least you guys South of the border have UKIP to vote for!”

    But they don’t, vote for them, that is. Buckingham and Aylesbury: Bercow 22,860 (maj. 12,529), Flipper the Dolphin 10,331, Farage 8,401.

    The UK electorate voted for John Major, Blair 3x and Cameron/Clegg. In a general election there is no way that UKIP will achieve anything. It will never be an effective power broker because it can be ignored electorally. Even the tribal reds of St Helens South dutifully turn out for Shaun Woodward.

    The country is in decline, probably terminal, and if you look to UKIP to rescue Britain you will have a long wait.

  5. 5 RichardSmith 09/02/2011 at 2:48 pm

    Back on topic.

    The Swiss are in the process of being trussed up like a turkey by their own ‘classe politique’.

    There is no scope in the Swiss system as it stands for tweaking an EU membership. The political and fiscal autonomy of communes, cantons and the federation is absolute.

    But already the Swiss are getting the treatment. Wait and see. The outcome of a referendum is no longer binding, but has to be nuanced so that it does not conflict with supranational agreements. The recent and pretty resounding vote to deport criminal aliens is potentially in conflict with all manner of human rights accords. There will now be an implementation period which could last up to five years before something – who knows what? – gets into law, if at all. An earlier referendem result on something disagreable to the ‘classe politique’ was left kicking around until it ended in judicial limbo.

    The leftie Calmy-Rey is so Swiss that she went on TV to sing… an Edith Piaf song. Je ne regrette rien, indeed!

  6. 6 Martin Brumby 09/02/2011 at 7:41 pm

    Nothing to do with Switzerland. But very much to do with the EU and our own pantomime horse government:-

    And anyone who believes their energy bill will be cheaper by £1000pa by 2020 is capable of believing absolutely anything.

  7. 7 Wet Halibut Merchant 11/02/2011 at 7:50 pm

    Bloody eu :@

  8. 8 RichardSmith 13/02/2011 at 6:36 pm

    Make of it what you will, but today the Swiss just voted fairly decisively in a referendum to keep their guns at home.
    [‘The Swiss resistance continues’…]

    As soon as the results were known the Justice Minister announced that the gun laws in Switzerland would be tightened up as a matter of urgency.
    […but for how long?]

    ‘Classe politique’, anyone?

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