Society Debates

Populism: Greater Switzerland just might take off

22 July 2010
Presseurop
Gazeta Wyborcza

The Swiss far-right wants to expand the country by annexing German, French, Austrian and Italian border regions, reports Gazeta Wyborcza. The Swiss People’s Party (SVP) floated the idea in June but only now has submitted a draft proposal calling for necessary changes to the constitution to make the enlargement possible. The regions in question are the German state of Baden Württemberg, French departments Alsace, Savoy, Jura and Ain, Italian provinces Aosta, Como, Varese and Bozen and the Austrian province of Vorarlberg.

If the SVP plan were implemented, Switzerland’s population would increase by 17 million (it currently stands at 7 million) with Stuttgart becoming its largest city. “We should facilitate integration of these regions which are suffering under the rule of the European political class that has no interest in them whatsoever. Their citizens have been looking jealously at our self-governing state and long for a democracy with human face”, explain SVP politicians.

The Swiss authorities have not commented on the proposal which nevertheless caused much glee in the German embassy in Bern. Its employees are said to have been wondering when the Swiss will “start demanding access to the sea”. Their good humours disappeared at seeing the results of a poll conducted by the Swiss weekly Weltwoche. It showed that 63% of nearly 1,800 German, Italian and Austrian polled living in the border regions said they were in favour of joining Switzerland. Hardly surprising considering the fact that salaries in Switzerland are much higher than in, for example, Germany and that Germans already constitute a majority of lecturers at many Swiss universities.