Not only Switzerland has much to lose

Not only Switzerland has much to lose

by Dieter Sprock

The EU is urging Switzerland to conclude an institutional framework agreement. In essence, the issue is that Switzerland should automatically adopt developments in EU law in the future. A Joint Committee would monitor compliance with the agreement and, in the event of disputes, the European Court of Justice would have the final say, which would be equivalent to the incapacitation of Switzerland.

“In Switzerland, citizens control the legal development of the country. With the optional and mandatory referendum and the popular initiative, they have at their disposal strong direct-democratic instruments that make the highest degree of self-determination possible”.

In order to reinforce its demand, the EU is making access to the electricity market for Switzerland dependent on the conclusion of the framework agreement. It reserves the right to deny Switzerland’s stock exchange equivalence; this would cut off traders from the EU area from the Swiss trading centre. And the EU is threatening to exclude this country from research programmes. The fact that the EU also does not want to accept the accompanying measures that protect Swiss workers from wage dumping also fits in with the EU system.

The EU system ...

Trade relations between Switzerland and the EU are regulated in bilateral agreements. There is no legal uncertainty that would make a framework agreement
necessary. Trade works in both directions, with clearly more goods flowing from the EU to Switzerland than vice versa. So why does the EU still insist so stubbornly on concluding this treaty?
The EU has set itself the task of creating a borderless internal market for capital, goods, services and persons and of dissolving national borders. This means that capital should be able to move freely and settle where it can make the greatest profit. Goods are to be produced where wages are low and then sold at top prices. Services - including public services built up with taxpayers’ money, such as water, electricity, education and healthcare – are to be privatised and marketed for profit. And last but not least, people should be at the free disposal of the capital; here we are talking about topics such as wage dumping or recruiting fully trained specialists from low-wage countries. The framework agreement serves to enforce these so-called “freedoms” and to strengthen Switzerland’s integration into the EU.
It is no longer a secret that under the EU system the economically weak countries are becoming poorer and the strong ones richer and richer.
The EU has developed into a bureaucratic juggernaut, patronising the member states in all political matters and no longer allowing them to pursue their own policies. Meanwhile, most laws applied in EU countries are determined by Brussels. But more and more countries are defending themselves against Brussels’ paternalism, in which they no longer see the interests of their citizens represented.

... versus Swiss direct democracy

Switzerland is a sovereign country in which the cantons have voluntarily joined together on a cooperative basis to form the Confederation. The smallest canton has the same rights in the federal state as the most populous.
Consideration of regional particularities, federal structure and the independence of the cantons have enabled the peaceful coexistence of different languages and cultures and strengthened cohesion.
In Switzerland, citizens control the legal development of the country. With the optional and mandatory referendum and the popular initiative, they have at their disposal strong direct-democratic instruments that make the highest degree of self-determination possible. The people have fought for the right to self-determination.
Swiss direct democracy in its kind is probably unique in the world. In no other country the population has such far-reaching opportunities to determine the political events themselves, and not only at the municipal level.
Of course, global development - the pursuit of money and power - has not stopped at Switzerland either. And those who are prepared here to surrender sovereignty and freedom rights must explain themselves. The fact is that many Swiss companies have already been acquired by foreign investors. Others are largely controlled by international corporations, including large Swiss banks.
If corporate managements are now obliged to foreign capital owners and, in their eyes, democratic achievements such as self-determination only hinder borderless business, this poses a great threat to democracy, and not only in Switzerland.
In his article “Sovereignty, Law and Democracy versus Power Politics,” published on 21 August 2013 in Current Concerns, the US American international lawyer and former UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, Alfred de Zayas, pays tribute to Switzerland’s direct-democratic model and calls on Swiss citizens to fight to preserve it.
Alfred de Zayas: “The only democracy I know is the Swiss democracy. It is not perfect. But it is the only one in which there is some correlation between the will of the people and the actual politics. [...] I must say to Swiss citizens: you must fight for the preservation of Swiss direct democracy. It’s not just for yourself, but it’s also a model for the world.”      •

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