This week’s incredible Davis Cup victory, Switzerland’s first, was proudly wowed by Swiss both at home and abroad, including those who vehemently oppose migrants coming to this country, whether through last February’s anti-European Union vote and this month’s 30 November referendum. At least two of this month’s federal and cantonal initiatives are particularly xenophobic. The first, Ecopop, proposes to insert two articles into the Swiss Constitution. Firstly the reduction of net population growth due to immigration, to be limited to a maximum of 0.2% of the total population per year and secondly, for at least 10% of Swiss federal development aid to be invested in programmes to encourage voluntary family planning.
The other initiative seeks to eliminate special tax arrangements for wealthy foreigners, a move that could well scare off many of them, plus deny lucrative income from taxes and in the form of jobs and services. So, looking at Switzerland’s sports’ achievements, who among those representing this country, whether in football, ice hockey or basketball, is really Swiss? And would Switzerland have come this far without its historical intake of migrants and refugees?
One only need look at the player line-ups in most of its competitive sports. World tennis victor, Roger Federer was born in Basel of Swiss-South African parents, while fellow Davis Cup team-mate, Sam Wawrinka, is of Swiss-Czech origin, and holds German and Swiss nationalities. Former female tennis champion, Martina Hingis, is Swiss but was born in Slovakia.
Many of Switzerland’s leading football clubs, but, above all, its national team, known as the “Nati” and which did not do too badly in the last World Cup, are heavily represented by Swiss of foreign or mixed-race background, such as Albanian, Kosovar, Congolese or Italian. Nati captain,Gökhan İnler, is Swiss-born but of Turkish parents, while headcoach, Vladimir Petković is Bosnian. The same goes for this country’s varied hockey and basket ball teams, which rely on American, Canadian and other foreigners to play for, or to train their teams.
Of course, many of these players consider themselves Swiss. And so they should. But their representation of Swiss society only ridicules those nationalists who insist that foreigners should be kept out. It also underlines why immigration, including refugees seeking new lives, is actually good for this country. And the need will rise as Europe’s aging societies seek new blood in order to remain economically productive and competitive. Furthermore, much of Switzerland’s current cultural and university research talent relies on foreign input. So maybe those who think “from the hip” when it comes to blaming outsiders for everything, should inform themselves a bit better.
There is good news, however, for Switzerland’s “International Geneva.” Both Swiss and foreigners are pushing this exceptional global asset as a means for harnessing the highly cosmopolitan and dynamic expertise that has made this country its hub for activities ranging from humanitarian and academia to business, telecommunications and environmental protection and stewardship. Such resources are not restricted to the Lake Geneva region, but include other parts such as Basel, Zurich and Neuchatel. United Nations’ Secretary General, Ban-Ki Moon has just re-appointed Michael Moller, the Danish interim head of the UN in Geneva and one of the most ardent supporters of “International Geneva” for another year. The move already has been welcomed by Switzerland’s business and “global issues” communities.
Edward Girardet, Managing Editor, Le News. email@example.com
“whether through last February’s anti-European Union vote” – What is he talking about? The MEI? If the Author would have read the initiative text he would have known that this was no “anti-EU vote”!
“At least two of this month’s federal and cantonal initiatives are particularly xenophobic” – Xenophobia is defined by the Oxford dictionary as being the “Dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries”. We Swiss who wish to reduce immigration and wish to regain independent control of our immigration policy do not have anything against people from other countries based on the reason that they are foreigners. Rather we dislike the NEGATIVE EFFECTS that a portion of the immigrants are bringing about to our way of life. Our right to self-determination as a nation and as a people means that we have the right to determine who enters our nation and who doesn’t – just as we all have the right to say who may or may not enter our own homes – a nation is an extension of the home!
“would Switzerland have come this far without its historical intake of migrants and refugees” – This is a ridiculous question, and really shows the bias of the editor. Firstly what does he mean by “this far”? And does he mean to say that without the “migrants and refugees” that Switzerland would be a crippled nation – socially, economically or otherwise!?
Let’s be clear here; “refugees” do not generally add positively to Switzerland in any way shape or form. “Migrants” generally do add positively to Switzerland, however “migrants” who are unemployed do not, and neither to “migrant” criminals or “migrants” who take the jobs of the Swiss job seekers! Currently the unemployment rate amongst “migrants” in Switzerland is higher than the rate of unemployed Swiss in Switzerland! Currently the number of “migrant” criminals in some areas of Switzerland is 75% of the total!
And, yes, the “migrant” population – now almost quarter of the population in Switzerland – do largely find work of some sort, and some do pay a decent amount of taxes into the Swiss tax system, but they also add to the wear and tear on the nations infrastructure – the roads, the power grid, the public transport, the educational institutions, the security and police services, the heath services, and so on – all of which were at a very high standard once upon a time, and were at a high standard with the balance of demands to resources that was there. Now there is an entirely NEW reality where the demands are stretching very thin the resources needed to keep the infrastructure at the high level it was once at – it’s eroding and ONLY people who are aware of how life was in Switzerland for many years into the past would be able to ascertain this!
So when the editor says “this far” what exactly is her referring to?
“Of course, many of these players consider themselves Swiss.” – And the vast majority of the Swiss people, INCLUDING those who voted for the MEI and who are voting for ECOPOP, would ALSO see them as Swiss! Why? Because they have integrated into Swiss society and are benefiting our nation – even if it is only in an entertainment capacity – we welcome them readily!
“But their representation of Swiss society only ridicules those nationalists who insist that foreigners should be kept out.” – No it doesn’t Mr. Girardet – I can assure you it does not! There is NO nation in the world that does not want to get rid of foreign criminals, or illegal immigrants, or immigrants who live off of the Social Welfare paid mostly by the national population! Their representation of Swiss society is 100% ok – they are employed, they pay their taxes, they are integrated into Swiss society, and are upstanding members of that Society – so no, there is absolutely no “ridicule” here!
“It also underlines why immigration, including refugees seeking new lives, is actually good for this country.” – Really!? I would really like to know from the editor how “refugees” are a “good thing for” Switzerland!! HA!!
… and the bias drivel just continues on and on ….
“maybe those who think “from the hip” when it comes to blaming outsiders for everything, should inform themselves a bit better.” – Yes, Mr. Girardet, you of course know it better than the millions of people who are citizens of this country, most of whom have generations of history here – you of course are the one to tell us the WE “should inform ourselves a bit better” – HA! The arrogance!!