Le Pen, Farage and Wilders are ecstatic.
As the leaders of three of the biggest far-right eurosceptic parties in Europe they could not help congratulating themselves on the Swiss vote to impose quotas on immigration:
“This is wonderful news for national sovereignty lovers throughout Europe,” said Nigel Farage, leader of UK’s Independence Party (UKIP). “A wise and strong Switzerland has stood up to the bullying and threats of the unelected bureaucrats of Brussels.”
The heir of France’s National Front (FN), Marine Le Pen thinks that “This Swiss victory will reinforce the will of the French people to stop mass immigration.”
Geert Wilders, head of Dutch Party of Freedom (PVV), sees eye to eye with Le Pen and tweeted: “Fantastic, what the Swiss can do, we can do too: cut immigration and leave the EU.”
You would think that as politicians who state again and again that they have nothing but people’s best interest at heart, this could not be good news to them. After all, nationals from their countries will have a harder time to get jobs in one of Europe’s most dynamic economies.
Instead they are treating the Swiss referendums as an early Saint Valentine’s gift. They see it as a thrust to their campaign to the European Parliament and you can be assured they will not mention the adverse effects the result of Sunday’s vote may have on Switzerland.
The EU-Swiss agreements, which include freedom of movement and access to European Single Market, operate on a “guillotine clause”. This means that the termination of one agreement means the automatic termination of all the others. It is worth noting that the EU is Switzerland’s largest trading partner and accounts for 60% of Switzerland’s exports.
Furthermore, a close observation on the results of the Swiss referendum paint a picture the anti-euro parties should not like.
In this graphic*, Swiss cantons are represented by circles of different sizes proportionately to their population. Also, they are distributed vertically accordingly to the percentage of foreign population they have and horizontally according to the percentage of “Yes” vote that the anti immigration initiative got in the referendum.
So, in general terms, those regions with the highest proportion of foreign population have voted against restricting immigration from the EU. Or in other words, the people who would be most affected by the innumerable and frightful problems the immigration causes according to FN, PVV and UKIP are the ones who do not seem to mind much the presence of foreigners.
If this parties are not racist, demagogic and ultranationalists and, as they claim, their sole motivation is the objective problems EU immigrants cause in their countries; they should never use the Swiss referendum as an electoral weapon.
*Here you can look at this and other graphics on Swiss vote on immigration quotas (it is in French)
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