The people want to set the course themselves

On the framework agreement and the referendum of 25 November

by Werner WŁthrich, D. Sc. (Admin.)

Ever since the 1992 No to the EEA, there has been a tendency to tie back the direct participation of the people. 18 full and half cantons voted against political affiliation to the EU at the time. Nevertheless, for 13 years (until 2005!) the Federal Council with its policy officially has pursued the strategic goal of joining the EU (which was also supported by the parliament). Popular initiatives were and are only half-heartedly or hardly at all implemented, international treaties are talked – and written – up as “international law” so as to get mixed in the minds with humanitarian international law and human rights, in order not to be questioned. – It is time to take countermeasures, so that the direct interaction between the authorities and the people, which has been tried and tested for many years, can function again!

Riburg salt works entrance in Rheinfelden. Schweizer Salinen AG (Swiss salt works corporation) is an enterprise run under private law in sole possession of the 26 Swiss cantons and the Principality of Liechtenstein. Fixed prices support the peripheral regions throughout Switzerland. It is part of our economic constitution that the people design, shape and share responsibility for economic freedom in the interests of the common good. (picture wikipedia)

Switzerland has a liberal economic order. It is the only country that has recognised economic freedom as a civil right in its constitution since the 19th century – in combination with direct democracy. Since then, around 200 economic votes have taken place at the federal level – on corporate taxes, taxes in general, on the “debt brake”, on economic and industrial policy (innovation risk guarantee), on the cartel system, vocational training, the monetary system, on nuclear power plants, the electricity market and other energy issues, on agriculture, on immigration, the protection of employees, tenants and consumers, price monitoring, on social insurance, on the protection of the environment, water and animals, on co-determination of employees, shorter working hours or more holidays, on minimum wages, excessive bonuses and wages at the management levels of large companies, on a wide variety of international agreements …
The people themselves determine the cornerstones of their free economic order. And the people have also repeatedly set the course and the direction of our economic policy themselves. In 1972 they clearly said Yes to the comprehensive free trade agreement with the then EC, which did not provide for any political integration – and twenty years later they clearly said No to the EEA, which would have changed broad areas of Switzerland’s politics. Similar questions also arise today in connection with the enjoined framework agreement, with which the EU once again wants to align and integrate Switzerland politically.
Our economic constitution revolves around the principle that, via their constitutional rights, the Swiss coin and shape their economic freedom and take a share of the responsibility. – Today, the results speak for themselves. It would therefore be negligent to use the means of direct democracy to break out or even only to weaken a supporting pillar. The “No” campaign, which attempts to persuade us that acceptance would be the kiss of death for the future, is absurd. Switzerland has always been export-oriented – even more before the First World War than today. The export industry has always learned to cope with the circumstances and difficulties – even with the strong franc. All this has strengthened our country and not weakened it. Today’s internationalist trends are no reason to bring about a system change.
Actually, it is self-evident that we should say Yes to self-determination and direct democracy!        •