If we follow the discussion in the Swiss media about the framework agreement called for by the EU, we are above all struck by the fact that hardly ever the question arises: Who is this demanding EU actually? There is, however, plenty of reason why it should be asked: For years it has not been possible to approve the EU budget, because billions have been disappearing into the bureaucracy’s black holes. Bureaucracy and regulations have taken on an extent that no one can take stock of any more. The poorer countries are becoming poorer and poorer, and also in the richer countries, the gap between the rich and the poor is widening. The economically strongest country in the EU, Germany, has the highest proportion of poor people, whose wages or pensions are below the poverty line. The grievances in the EU – above all the democratic deficit and the senseless destruction of money – stink to high heaven. No longer can lipstick be put on the pig.
More and more countries are trying to free themselves from EU dictation and to make a policy for their own population again. People are beginning to understand that the freedom of capital is not their freedom and that the increasing impoverishment of their countries is a consequence of the greed of the richest of all. In all EU countries, the parties critical of the EU are increasing their share of the vote. Less and less people want to continue seeing the policies of their countries determined by Brussels. Malicious tongues are already calling Brussels the new Moscow, thereby referring to the communist past.
If proof had still been needed of the undemocratic character of the EU, it will now, at the latest, be provided in form of the demands make on Switzerland: the EU is making demands and at the same time threatening sanctions. It demands the automatic adoption of EU law. And it is threatening to withdraw Switzerland’s stock market equivalence if the latter does not heed its calls – there is no reason for this from a technical point of view. The EU is threatening to block Switzerland’s market access to the electricity sector – although Switzerland is doing a good job as an electricity hub in Europe. The EU is threatening not to continue the existing bilateral agreements – although there is no objective reason to do so. …
A sovereign state cannot respond to such a setting. Contracts should be negotiated without threats and can be terminated and renegotiated without sanctions being expected – otherwise they are dictates. The EU’s demand for automatic adoption of EU law must be rejected without any ifs or buts.
Since the Federal Council has now released the negotiated draft of the framework agreement for consultation and sent it to the consultation process, not a single day has passed without ever new “experts” repeatedly having their say. We read that they want to “contribute to clarification”, call for “objectification of the discussion” and offer “thinking aids”, because it is such a “complex topic”, that the “man in the street” has for a long time been incapable to follow all the trains of thought. Others are warning against “the decline of the Swiss economy”: If the framework agreement fails, the EU (!) might downgrade Switzerland “to the status of a third country”, wrote the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” on 19 January, without showing any outrage. It continued to say that you clearly misunderstand democracy if you only see it as the “rule of the majority” and accept this fatalistically; and it called for assertive government. Other “experts” call for accession to the EEA or even directly to the EU as a solution.
Whatever all the “smart” experts may find out, nothing changes the nature of the EU itself. It simply does not represent the interests of the people. It is in the service of high finance, which, in the form of the internal market, has created an area for itself in which it can boundlessly move goods, people and capital, in order to make the greatest possible profit – at any sacrifice.
The framework agreement is about access to Switzerland. It is intended to open up the Swiss market for services of all kinds to the financial market – including schools, universities and medical care – as well as public services, in particular water and electricity supply.
The CVP (Christian People’s Party of the Canton of Aargau recently expressed its concern that large Swiss companies are increasingly owned by foreign investors. In contrast to the past, many of these shareholders no longer behave like responsible owners, but are only interested in their own profit (“Neue Zürcher Zeitung” of 10 January). It is not alone in this concern.
Switzerland is therefore faced with the choice of either offering up even its sovereignty and its globally unique direct democracy to mammon, or of defending them by rejecting the framework agreement.
The financial industry is fighting with no holds barred to achieve its goals. Fortunately, Swiss citizens still have the final say in form of the referendum. •
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