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Statement by the Young European Swiss on the Swiss referendum on immigration

, by Young European Swiss

The Young European Swiss (YES – JEF Switzerland) take note of the voting result of 9th February 2014 with deep regret. It was, as already in 1992, a very small percentage which made the difference. Therefore it can hardly be stated that the people welcome the introduction of quotas on immigration in general.

The conservative forces of Switzerland have relocated its open and progressive forces in the minority group. This has to be accepted.

But what now, SVP (Swiss People’s party, the party who initiated the referendum- translator’s note)? What are your solutions? Previously you’ve always said that the quotas are going to be based on the economy. How do you imagine this to be implemented? You collect voices of the people with the promise to stop immigration. However, this promise cannot be kept when the Swiss economy is supposed to continue to grow. For that, Switzerland needs workers from abroad. The proposal to bring these people from outside the EU to Switzerland can hardly be taken serious. The reintroduction of seasonal workers (Saisonniers), the largest discrimination that one can force on foreign workers, is hopefully not your serious proposal.

How could this happen? How could the government, the middle-class and left-wing parties abandon the field to the SVP to such an extent? Unfortunately, in many European countries nationalist parties currently become stronger again, as a result of the challenges brought about by globalisation. But why have neither the parties nor the government or the economy managed to show how globalisation has also improved our lives? Why were the topics with which the SVP went fishing for votes, not handled attentively? Why couldn’t the topic of Europe be addressed directly? Why do we speak well of the EU only when it is required for a vote? This attitude hardly serves the trust.

In order to prevent the right from dominating the public debate, courageous and honest solutions are necessary: precisely what the ‘mass immigration initiative’ is not. New problems approach us, and it is up to the government and the parties to finally gain trust and credibility so that the public no longer considers it necessary to use platforms, like those offered by the SVP, to make a point.

Thanks to the adoption of this initiative, the difficult relations of Switzerland with the European Union are an additional burden. This can only harm Switzerland! We are not only surrounded by the European Member States, we are, whether we like it or not, part of European integration. The sign Switzerland is now sending to the world, is no sign of tolerance, no sign of confidence and certainly no sign of cooperation. SVP you are responsible for the present situation, therefore clean up the mess.

The young European Swiss are now needed more than ever before. We still continue to stand up, firmly committed to a European future and will do everything to make sure it is not shaped solely by the SVP and its chief strategist. It is now necessary, to learn from the mistakes of the past campaigning in order to subsequently be able to win the next polls (like ECOPOP, Association ECOlogie et POPulation).

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