EU’s free movement of persons is no humanitarian project

EU’s free movement of persons is no humanitarian project

A contribution to the discussion about the vote of 9 February 2014

by Dieter Sprock

With their ‘Yes’ to the popular initiative against mass immigration the voters have expressed their will that they want to determine and regulate the immigration into Switzerland again autonomously. Nothing more and nothing less! No great effort is needed to understand that an influx of one hundred thousand immigrants per year is difficult to cope with for a small country like Switzerland with a population of eight million. In comparison, Germany with its 80 million inhabitants should accept one million immigrants, while it already reaches its limits with the current four hundred thousand immigrants. And similar problems exist in other EU countries surrounding Switzerland.
Therefore, the Swiss vote against mass immigration was observed in the EU with great interest, and there is good cause to believe that the consent would have been even higher there, if the citizens had had the opportunity to vote on this issue.
The vote took place in February last year. Since then, hardly a day has passed where the Swiss voters’ Yes was not made a topic in any of the major leading media in the country and abroad, frequently in conjunction with the Bilateral Agreements and the free movement of persons. This included diatribes and absurd allegations. The Yes voters, who, after all, represent the majority, are placed in the right-wing corner and accused of being far right, xenophobic or even racist, and our country is said to be isolationist and misanthropic.
The free movement of persons is by no means a humanitarian project. It is among the “four fundamental freedoms”  of the EU single market such as the free movement of capital and the free movement of goods and services. All four “freedoms”, which are in fact dictates of the financial world, contribute to the realization of a barrier-free single market within the EU in particular and not to the increase in the individual citizens’ level of freedom. On the contrary, they severely restrict the possibilities of citizens to determine their domestic policy and the structure of their economy and lead to a massive reduction in democracy. This also applies to Switzerland that paid for the participation in the European internal market with the bilateral agreements.

Impact of the free movement of persons

In the economically weak countries, freedom of movement leads to a migration of the strongest and best trained forces who then lack in the development of their country’s economy and infrastructure. And vice versa the wages can be massively reduced in the richer countries, because they can use new workforce almost unlimitedly. It becomes apparent nowadays that this development leads to professional training being criminally neglected in some countries. A vicious circle from which we can hardly find a way out without changing the system.
After the Swiss Yes to the mass immigration initiative the EU, however, insists on the compliance of the free movement of persons, despite or perhaps precisely due to the fact that already several EU countries do no longer want to adhere to it. Apparently, with its stubborn attitude towards Switzerland the EU wants to set an example to maintain the principle of the free movement of persons within its borders.

Questions to the Left and Greens

One can understand that some representatives of the financial and economic world are campaigning for the preservation of the free movement of persons, since all this is finally about money, lots of money and power. However, the Left’s and the Greens’ campaigning for the free movement of persons raises some questions because they usually claim to represent the interests of working people.
It is indisputable that in this system, in which the free movement of persons is an important component, the gap between rich and poor opens further. Seen from this angle, the initiative to stop mass immigration should actually come from the Left and Greens. Why do they make such an effort against the interests of their own electorate?     •

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