The business and industry association Economiesuisse says the up-coming vote on 25 November 2018 on self-determination puts the Swiss economy at risk.
The Swiss People’s Party led initiative entitled: Federal law instead of foreign judges, aims to cement the primacy of Swiss law over international law by adding a clause to Switzerland’s constitution.
The Federal Council, Switzerland’s executive, has said the change would create a legal straight jacket that would make it difficult for it and parliament to reach international agreements beneficial to the country.
The National Council, Switzerland’s 200-member lower house, rejected the initiative by 127 to 67.
Recently, Economiesuisse reiterated its views. The association says that if the initiative passes it would affect more than 600 international economic agreements, something which would hit exporting companies in particular.
Economiesuisse referred to an appraisal on the initiative’s impact by Zurich University professor Christine Kaufmann. Kaufmann is a professor of international and constitutional law.
According to Kaufmann, the initiative will not clarify the relationship between Switzerland’s constitution and international law. In addition, if it is accepted, many existing international agreements would need to be renegotiated. And, if negotiations fail agreements would need to be terminated.
Economiesuisse says this vote will be the most important vote of the year, with potential impacts that go far beyond the economy.
Amnesty International says that given Switzerland’s strong track record on human rights, if the vote succeeds and Switzerland withdraws from the European Convention on Human Rights it would send a dangerous signal to countries like Turkey, Russia and Hungary where human rights are already threatened.