Ex-foreign minister for Switzerland, Micheline Calmy-Rey, told the Neue Zuercher Zeitung that she thinks Switzerland should wait and see how Great Britain negotiates its exit from the EU, while discussing Switzerland’s ongoing discussion with Brussels regarding Switzerland’s 9 February 2014 popular vote against mass EU immigration. According to her, Switzerland must not rush and should let the British lead the way.
At the same time she was critical of Europe. “There are two different visions” she said. “One which demands close integration and one which doesn’t. The EU doesn’t know how to deal with this. It says: either you are in or out. It is operating with binary logic. I think it must try to find a third path.”
Switzerland’s vote to limit mass EU immigration must be implemented by next February at the latest. However the former foreign minister thinks this is no reason to rush. She thinks Switzerland should follow the same strategy used by the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, when he was prime minister of Luxembourg. He waited to see how Switzerland would negotiate with the EU over taxation. Only then did he move forward.
Wait and see doesn’t mean doing nothing, she said. Switzerland must find consensus on how to implement the mass immigration initiative, which could take the form of a counter initiative, like the RASA proposal. Without this Switzerland will be poorly placed to negotiate with Brussels. Implementation must reconcile with the EU and not needlessly provoke, she warned. In addition, she recommends ratifying the extension of free movement of people to Croatia to safeguard agreements on research and education.