Switzerland votes on freedom of movement

In Switzerland, a referendum will be held at the end of September on an initiative launched by the right-wing populist Swiss People's Party (SVP) that aims to end the country's Freedom of movement agreement with the EU so that Switzerland can manage its immigration policy independently of the bloc. If the initiative is accepted, six other agreements would also be terminated, including the agreement on single market access. How dangerous is this course?

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Die Presse (AT) /

Swissexit must be prevented

If the initiative is accepted, the consequences would be catastrophic, Die Presse is convinced:

“The initiative launched by the right-wing populist Swiss People's Party is primarily directed against EU citizens, who make up-two thirds of Switzerland's immigrants. ... The background to this is unhindered participation in the EU single market, where more than half of Swiss exports go. The free movement of persons is one of the four non-negotiable freedoms of this internal market. Severe restrictions on this would inevitably trigger a kind of 'Schwexit' from the single market. ... Politicians, not only in Switzerland, should ask themselves what went wrong in the construction. Because a return to nationalism would be a catastrophe.”

SonntagsZeitung (CH) /

Time to talk about migration

For the SonntagsZeitung, the vote offers an opportunity to discuss a taboo subject:

“For many people the initiatives of the Swiss People's Party have something disreputable about them. Especially when they're not supported by any other party, as is the case again with the Limitation Initiative. The initiator alone is preventing people from discussing the topic: after all, one doesn't want to be suspected of belonging to the 'isolationists', the 'die-hards' or even the 'xenophobes'. ... Dealing with migration and arguing about it is often unpleasant and even exhausting. Pitfalls lurk everywhere. One wrong word and you discredit yourself entirely. The fact that many people prefer not to discuss the subject at all is understandable, but fatal. Frustration builds up, which may then be vented in other ways. The Limitation Initiative is an invitation to continue the debate against all odds.”