On Sunday, Feb. 8, the people of Switzerland will vote on whether to renew a bilateral agreement with the European Union on the free movement of people, and whether to extend it to new EU member states Bulgaria and Romania. It’s an emotional issue, and a vote whose outcome will have implications for nearly everyone living in Switzerland.
Moving forward with EU relations Wednesday, 18 February, 2009Today foreign minister Micheline Calmy-Rey goes to Brussels to meet with the European Commission’s top diplomat Javier Solana. It’s one of two top-level visits planned between Calmy-Rey and EU officials in as many weeks. After voters widely approved the free movement of people last week, Switzerland is looking at how to consolidate its complicated relations with Brussels. WRS’s Jordan Davis spoke with Ambassador Urs Bucher who heads the department of the Foreign Ministry charged with managing the relationship with the European Union. Bucher says one of the biggest hurdles is figuring out a way for Switzerland to stay in step with European law, while still managing its sovereignty.
Non grazie—why Ticino voted 'no' to the EU Thursday, 12 February, 2009Despite a decisive win for ’yes’ in the recent vote on the free movement of people, voters in Ticino delivered a resounding ’no’, with 65 percent against extending the bilateral labour accord with the EU. It’s not a new phenonenon; Ticino has a history of hostility to EU pacts, and Pete Forster spoke to Ticinese political scientist Oscar Mazzolini to find out why.
'Yes' sweeps Free Movement vote Monday, 9 February, 2009Switzerland’s agreement on Free Movement of People with the EU will continue. Just shy of 60 percent of Swiss voters voted Sunday to keep the country’s borders open to European workers. Support for the “yes” vote was significantly higher than anyone expected. But what did those surprising results mean? WRS’s Jordan Davis sampled reactions across the political spectrum in Bern.
Free Movement could lead to 'labor market collapse,' says People's Party Thursday, 5 February, 2009The Swiss People’s Party is the only major political party calling for voters to say no this Sunday. The party says extending the labor deal with the European Union to new EU countries Romania and Bulgaria will unleash a flood of workers, driving up unemployment and bankrupting the country’s welfare system. Ulrich Schlüer is a leading voice in the party on issues of sovereignty and immigration. Speaking from his office in Thalwil (ZH), he told WRS’s Jordan Davis that the current economy can’t sustain the Free Movement of People.
Do Romanians care about Switzerland? Wednesday, 4 February, 2009On Sunday, Switzerland will vote on whether to extend work rights to Romania and Bulgaria, and a vociferious debate rages on billboards, radios and in cafés throughout Switzerland as to whether the renewal and extension would be a good thing. But are Romanians actually planning on coming? In the second of her series from Romania, WRS’s Jackie Campo finds out.
Facebook group against 'defamatory' posters Tuesday, 3 February, 2009Pete Forster speaks to Miruna Coca-Cozma, a Swiss broadcaster originally from Romania, who has instigated a petition in the social networking site Facebook against the ’offensive’ Swiss People’s Party campaign for a ’no’ vote in Saturday’s referendum on the EU bilateral labour agreement.
Swiss 'shouldn't be afraid of foreigners' Monday, 2 February, 2009Ahead of Sunday’s vote on whether to renew it’s labour accord with the European Union and to extend it to new EU members Bulgaria and Romania, the Bulgarian ambassador has appealed to Swiss people to ’show that they are not afraid of foreigners’ in an interview with World Radio Switzerland.