Trucks to start lining up at the Swiss border?
Monday 4/14/14 time 2:02 PM
The Swiss referendum backing immigration quotas was a much debated topic also during the February plenary in Strasbourg. As a consequence, the results of the referendum are not going to be swept under the carpet.
Switzerland is confronted with a decision whether it will move closer or take a step away from Europe.
The situation is comparable to the situation in Ukraine where last autumn, admittedly under the pressure from Russia, the country decided to make a U-turn and not to sign the agreement of closer cooperation with the European Union. In Ukraine, national dissatisfaction with the decision of president Yanukovych is now obvious to all of us.
However, unlike the Swiss, Ukrainians did not have the chance to come to polls and decide for their future.
The reaction of the Swiss is not likely to be akin to the events in Ukraine (overthrowing the government), but the economic impact will be equally catastrophic. More than half of the Swiss exports are directed to the EU market. Although the piling up of trucks at the Swiss-EU border would hardly do much harm to exporting cuckoo clocks, it might become a curvy road for Swiss cheese to reach the shelves of EU supermarkets.
EU-Swiss cooperation is not a one-way process. The principle of free movement is the backbone of the EU-Swiss cooperation agreement.
The tiny and mountainous Switzerland is totally dependent on the cooperation with the EU, as well as on access to the EU single market. One should neither forget that also Swiss people are currently working all over Europe.
The Swiss referendum result is also a scary sign of the growing nationalism, xenophobia and isolationism in Europe.
Raisins cannot be picked out of the bun like the Swiss aim at doing. This also applies to Great Britain, which has in recent years been playing with the idea of withdrawing from the parts of the EU where cooperation is not perceived pertinent.