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Switzerland vs the world

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by really, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. really

    really Deity

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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26108597
    The citizens of Switzerland have voted to reverse an agreement with the EU which allowed for the free movement of citizens between each other.
    The implications remain to be seen - but can the EU allow a non-member to pick and choose the elements of interaction it likes (free movement of goods and services) and to deny the elements it does not like (free movement of people)?

    How this plays out has implications within the EU too - if concessions were given to a non-member on aspects of policy that are seen as key would some members expect the same concessions?

    France, Germany and Spain have already responded negatively - perhaps more concerned with the implications for current members than for Switzerland.

    Personally: If Switzerland wants to go it alone let them. They should not get the benefits without the (perceived) costs.
     
  2. Virote_Considon

    Virote_Considon The Great Dictator

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    Though I'd like to offer a suggestion as to how Europe should react, I have to remember the fate of the last person who advocated it

    Spoiler :
     
  3. Grisu

    Grisu Draghetto Retired Moderator

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    Damn, I was hoping if I refused to acknowledge the vote it'll go away :sad:
     
  4. warmonger

    warmonger Conservative Greenie

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    There has been a lot of crap written about this in the English language press over the past 24 hours. As a non EU foreigner living in Switzerland here's my take on the situation.

    first some background. In 2004, CH signed a deal with the EU for CH to be party to the Schengen Treaty that provides for the right of citizens of signatory states to live and work in any other signatory state (with some exceptions). At the time of signing the EU wanted CH in more than CH wanted to be in so CH was able to insert some special clauses into the deal. Two are relevant here. For a period of 10 years, CH was able to insist that (i) the right to live and work in CH was only granted to citizens of the old EU 15 - it did not give the right for the more recent 13 to come to CH; and (ii) if immigration turned out to be much higher than predicted, quotas could be legally introduced.

    CH, at the time, was the only Schengen signatory given the right to quotas. Since 2004, immigration to some parts of Switzerland has been much higher than predicted by anybody and the quotas were introduced in mid 2013. Brussels was not amused.

    The 10 year deal expires in mid 2014 so the quotas would no longer be enforceable - so this vote enables the government to renegotiate an extension of the quotas in both time and coverage with Brussels.

    There is no agreement between the EU and CH over the free movement of goods and services between the entities. All trucks entering and leaving CH have to have customs clearance - hence the very long lines of trucks at all major entry and exit points. In the area I know best (pharmaceuticals) all products produced in CH have to be passed by a quality lab based in the EU before they can be sold or even transit EU territory. Brussels can not punish CH with extra trade barriers without breaking it's own rules.

    There is little the EU can do except bluster about the Swiss desire to renegiotiate. They can stop discussions on other matters that have not yet been finalised but not much else.

    Hopefully, our resident Swiss posters will drop by to give their take on the situation.
     
  5. luiz

    luiz Trendy Revolutionary

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    Yeah, I read about it. What the hell, Switzerland? One of the sanest countries on Earth seems to be taking a decisive turn towards stupid. Apparently even the proponents of this idiocy recognize it'll harm the economy.
     
  6. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    What are the likely implications of this for tourists?
     
  7. luiz

    luiz Trendy Revolutionary

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    None. Tourists will still be able to get in without visas*, for a pre-determined amount of time (usually 3 months).

    Non-EU tourists (such as me with my Brazilian passport) can do that, so it can't be any worse for EU tourists even after this.

    *If you come from the EU or a country that Switzerland does not require visas from, such as Brazil (and I'm sure the US, Canada, Australia, NZ, Japan and etc).
     
  8. warmonger

    warmonger Conservative Greenie

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    None.


    Is there still a 10 character limit?


    On second thoughts......if renegiotiations fail to resolve the issue within 3 years, the vote allows for the lapsing of the agreement. This would mean that we might go back to the pre 2008 days of requiring citizens coming from Shengen countries to show their passport at the border. Which was only a minor inconvenience for most.

    For Swiss however, it would mean having to pass through sercurity again at airports when transiting through a Shengen country.
     
  9. really

    really Deity

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    I think you are mixing terms - Schengen allows passport/national ID free travel between its members and not all EU members are in Schengen (the UK and Ireland for example require people to have a passport / national ID card to cross our borders from outside these islands)

    Free movement of people, goods, capital and services are fundamentals of the EU.
    Some of the EU15 negotiated the same restrictions on migration from the newest members but these restrictions have expired as far as I know.

    (Except in Malta for particular reasons afaik)

    As for the bluster - I know wikipedia isn't the best source for this but it seems that if the Swiss restrict an element of the bilateral treaties - the whole lot can be cancelled.

    It wouldn't be a matter of Swiss pharmaceuticals being subject to EU law before they entered the EU - they wouldn't have to be let in at all.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switzerland%E2%80%93European_Union_relations#Treaties
    Admittedly this sounds like a nuclear option
    http://www.europa.admin.ch/themen/00500/00506/00526/index.html?lang=en
    Edit: i could be wrong - free trade seems to be governed by an older agreement.
    Technical standards and the like seem to be covered by the more recent treaties.
     
  10. Grisu

    Grisu Draghetto Retired Moderator

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    They will be beat up at the border ;)

    Nah, as the others said, there's no change for tourists (especially non-EU tourists).

    Even for EU workers there won't likely be a change in the near future. In a few years it might change that things go back to the pre-2008 days. It all depends on what kind of deal the feds and the EU can agree...From initial reactions from the EU they'll (as expected) be reluctant to renow the 'Ventilklausel' (Quotas), so those negotiations might be hard.

    Especially for companies that employ a lot of EU citizens things might get rough and Switzerland might lose a fair bit of tax revenue if such companies decide to leave. What would happend if the EU cancels all bilateral treaties with Switzerland, I cannot even begin to fathom...
     
  11. warmonger

    warmonger Conservative Greenie

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    Maybe I'm using the wrong treaty name but the dates and exemptions are correct.

    CH has no agreement with the EU on the free movement of goods. It does sit in a special category of countries that have no tariffs applied to goods sent to the EU.

    There are currently restrictions on several goods from the EU in CH. I'm not allowed to bring in more than 500 grams of red meat per person per day; dairy is restricted as well. This is not a duty free allowance - this is an absolute restriction. Many household items ordered on-line from the UK (for example) attract heavy customs duty on entry into CH
     
  12. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    EU visa stuff greatly confuses me. I have a non-EU passport containing a German Aufenthaltserlaubnis, which would allow me to work for 120 days in Germany, but as I understand it, not in other EU countries, and I similarly don't think I have any greater travel rights in Schengen countries than I would otherwise have as an Australian citizen. Which strikes me as a fairly qualified version of free movement.
    It's a reversion to previous standards that I would perhaps be concerned about, though if those previous standards aren't actually more restrictive, that's not problematic. Though I can imagine it becoming somewhat like the UK, where I'm allowed to enter as a tourist for six months visa-free, but am treated with great suspicion and not-quite-detained almost every time until I produce a mountain of supporting documents.
     
  13. warmonger

    warmonger Conservative Greenie

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    As someone who has set up Swiss subsidiaries for various global companies I'm fairly certain they won't be leaving in a hurry. They will bluster and splutter but the benefits of being here are too great to spit the dummy. Maybe a bit of scaling back here and there, but no wholesale stampede for the exit - where else would they go?
     
  14. warmonger

    warmonger Conservative Greenie

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    Under current rules if you have the legal right to live in Germany, you have the legal right to live in CH. Working might be a different matter if you have limited working rights in D.

    If we revert to the old rules, you, as an Australian, would have an automatic 3 month tourist visa but no right to reside or work without a sponser.
     
  15. really

    really Deity

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    I wouldn't expect there to be a stampede either but surely even a scaling back would be bad - less investment, less employment, less taxes etc.

    As to where would they go:
    Yahoo moves services to Ireland
     
  16. luiz

    luiz Trendy Revolutionary

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    Yeah the UK is kind of weird. As a Brazilian I'm entitled to 3 months visa-free travel there, and I also hold a British work visa, which allows me to stay there and work for years (because my company had me working in Aberdeen for a while). Still, sometimes the authorities there will give me crap, which doesn't happen in any other European country (or any other country for that matter, not even the much-maligned US).

    I'm on the process of getting my Italian citizenship, which should make things easier, but it's a loooong and tedious process.
     
  17. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    I like Switzerland, but they should keep in mind that their economy is to a huge degree based on banking of (current) eu-citizens money. If this was to stop being the case then the effect would be easily felt in Switzerland.
    And to put things into perspective, it is claimed that more than 200 billion euros from Greek people are stored in Swiss banks. That is on the level of the entire debt.

    Not that i think anything will escalate. Pretty sure that things will continue the same at least until the euro elections this May. After that? It's anybody's guess.
     
  18. bugwar

    bugwar Emperor

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    From the article:

    Monday’s referendum on changes to the country’s liberal immigration law was a rebuke to the Swiss government, the banking industry and business leaders who had lobbied against the restrictions.
    ...
    Immigration has become a polarising issue across Europe.
    More prosperous nations are growing worried their welfare systems cannot handle an influx of workers from economically weaker Eastern European countries.
    ...
    parties with anti-immigrant platforms in France, the Netherlands and Norway are gaining strength, and there have been sharp debates in Britain and Germany
    over limiting the number of immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania because citizens from those countries gained full access to EU job markets this year.
    ...
    The outcome seemed to reflect a disconnect between the government and industry and voters, who approved the introduction of curbs on excessive salaries for business executives two years ago.


    Source: http://www.afr.com/p/world/swiss_vote_to_curb_migrant_numbers_6e3W9jzd9F3KZtF5oslTqI
     
  19. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    So much for any sort of European "union". Can you imagine if there were states in the US who didn't want the residents of some states, but not all of them, to move there because they considered themselves to be somehow superior to those who wanted to relocate?
     
  20. Grisu

    Grisu Draghetto Retired Moderator

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    well, in your analogy Switzerland would be more like Canada than any U.S. State...
     

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