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Ruminations on the Swiss referendum

February 12th, 2014

Népszava thinks Switzerland and the European Union will both have to pay a heavy price for the immigration restrictions to be imposed by the Swiss government. Magyar Nemzet interprets the outcome of the referendum as a first sign that European governments must face immigration problems seriously.

Writing in Népszava, Tamás Rónay regrets that as a result of the xenophobic campaign by the governing right-wing SVP party, a slight majority of Swiss voters have compelled their government to impose severe quotas on immigration. Those voters, Rónay explains, did not take into account all the advantages Switzerland has reaped from the presence of well-trained foreigners and those who have taken low prestige jobs that locals were not prepared to fill any longer. Nor did they realise that similar restrictions will inevitably hit Swiss citizens intending to settle in neighbouring countries. He is bewildered by the enthusiasm the outcome of the referendum has caused in rightist circles accross Europe, as the restrictions will not be directed against Asians and Africans alone, but against citizens of EU member countries as well.

In Magyar Nemzet, Zoltán Kottász writes that Switzerland will become a laboratory of what can be done to tackle an immigration problem that causes serious headaches in many European countries. The referendum outcome  gives the governmenthree years to come to terms with its partners, including the European Union and introduce immigration quotas. Immigration is causing extremely unpleasant conflicts throughout Western Europe, he continues, and those who raise the problem are readily branded as racist and xenophobic – and some of them actually are. The problem is, Kottász warns, that if at the sight of such new developments the European Union continues to brandish threats as its only response, this will just play into the hands of the extremists who are the main adversaries of European integration.

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