The EU should stop bullying Switzerland

 

The EU has shown its contempt for democracy yet again by its unpleasant response to the vote in Switzerland. They are now threatening Swiitzerland’s access to the single market!

Don’t these bureaucrats understand that there is a higher international law on trade and tariffs which the EU as well as Switzerland has to obey? The EUcannot just unilaterally impose tariffs against international rules.

Don’t they understand that some of the EU member states may like Switzerland and wish to carry on exporting to Switzerland without new trade impediments?

The EU is constantly trying to bully people who disagree with some of its ways. They seem to think the  trade between member states and with states outside the EU is for them  to allow or remove. I want the UK to champion Switzerland’s cause. It is high time the EU bent to the democratic will of the European peoples, instead of amassing more and more power to itself.

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69 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    “It is high time the EU bent to the democratic will of the European peoples, instead of amassing more and more power to itself.”

    Indeed.

    But why should they? The system makes them largely immune to the electorate. They even effectively choose the governments and leaders in several southern countries now.

    At least the UK is not land locked and not fully surrounded by this undemocratic, socialist monster as Switzerland is.

    The UK’s “democratic” system and ratting politicians have however, not given the people any say in matters – unlike Switzerland’s.

    I think Mr Cameron perhaps we do want to be a greater Switzerland, but not surrounded and with sea ports please.

    Much richer, far more democratic, better run, a far sounder currency and public finances, lower crime, better statistics for almost everything you care to measure, fewer duff university graduates of nonsense, more engineers and fewer lawyers, lower taxes, what is not to like?

    Perhaps Cameron could now tell us his objections?

    • uanime5
      Posted February 10, 2014 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

      They even effectively choose the governments and leaders in several southern countries now.

      They only did that after the financial crisis in countries that wanted a bailout. Since then both of these countries have elected different leaders.

      Perhaps Cameron could now tell us his objections?

      No access to the EU’s financial markets, so becoming like Switzerland wouldn’t be good for UK banks.

      • Hope
        Posted February 11, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        The EU coup on these demonstrated the unaccountable and unelected bureaucrats could put in place a person over elected democratic process. What utter socialist drivel you write.

  2. Alan
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I would like to point out that it is the Swiss who are restricting the rights of individuals, by preventing people moving into their country. The EU’s possible retaliation would infringe the rights of companies, not individuals.

    The EU is often accused of being insufficiently democratic (sometimes by people who support an unelected legislature like the House of Lords) but I think it is better at supporting its peoples’ rights than many of its parts – think of Schengen, which would allow us to move around freely were it not for the UK government’s decision not to implement it; think of the euro, which would allow us to hold currency that our government could not devalue; think of the EU’s opposition to GCHQ and NSA spying on their own citizens whilst our government acquiesces.

    It doesn’t seem to me to be in our interests to give support to the Swiss in preventing UK citizens living in their country.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 10, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      If you infringe the rights of companies it clearly infringes the rights of individuals too – in jobs, wages, what they can buy and sell, the economy ……..

    • oldtimer
      Posted February 10, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Are you claiming that the EU has an open door policy for unlimited immigration into the EU from outside? Switzerland is a nation state. Its people have a well developed system for consultation by referendum. It is no business of the EU to impose its will on the people of that country.

      • Mark W
        Posted February 11, 2014 at 6:27 am | Permalink

        Switzerland should take immigrants like the rest of us. What they are doing is a bit like you or me refusing to let strangers bang on the door and move into our home… Oh hang on a mo, I see their point… Hmm

    • JoeSoap
      Posted February 10, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Don’t be so selfish!
      People in Switzerland have an absolute right to let in or not let in whomsoever they please. It is just a shame that we don’t!!!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 10, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      “I would like to point out that it is the Swiss who are restricting the rights of individuals, by preventing people moving into their country.”

      Switzerland is a sovereign state and its citizens have the right to decide who else shall be allowed into what you yourself admit is “their” country; conversely those who are not Swiss citizens have no right at all to enter Switzerland except as may be permitted by the Swiss through their laws.

      And the same applies to our own country, that the citizens of the UK and only the citizens of the UK have the right to decide who else will be admitted to the UK; our problem is that we lack the same mechanism to force the UK government to respect our wishes in that regard.

    • peter davies
      Posted February 10, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Very selective there mate

      “think of Schengen, which would allow us to move around freely were it not for the UK government’s decision not to implement it”

      - you mean free movement of people which an elected government would have no control over

      “think of the euro, which would allow us to hold currency that our government could not devalue”

      - or to set interest rates at a rate suitable for the countries economy, or use QE as a means of helping the flow of money after the disastrous banking crash thus hiding its worst effects – the first way to destroy a country and its institutions is to take over their currency

      - the GCHQ/NSA thing is a red herring – not sure what that has to do with yr argument

    • James Matthews
      Posted February 10, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      You seem to be a postulating a right for any individual to move to any country they choose regardless of the wishes of that country. No such right has ever existed and I hope it never will. If it ever does most small and medium sized nations can look forward to having their cultural identities (and in some cases their ethnicity) being swept away. To many on the left this is of course an outcome devoutly to be wished. Not, however, to most ordinary human beings.

    • forthurst
      Posted February 10, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      “It doesn’t seem to me to be in our interests to give support to the Swiss in preventing UK citizens living in their country.”

      How thoughtful of you to put the putative interests of the British before those of the Swiss whose country you would like to invade.

      It has been Swiss business including Chemical and Pharmaceutical companies that has been keen to allow free access from the EU, enabling them to recruit German and Italian scientists and technologists. Allowing free access to the EU also allows anybody carrying an EU passport, irrespective of purported background to enter Switzerland and be supplied with some of the very limited land resources available. The Swiss can still allow people they want to enter their country from doing so and some businesses could consider setting up industrial plants and laboratories in Germany and Italy to save people having to emigrate to deploy their skills; the same thing, in principle, should apply to British businesses that are keen to recruit ‘experts’ from outside the EU to immigrate to the UK.

  3. Old Albion
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Given your obvious dislike of much of the EU (in common with most of the people living in the [dis] UK)
    Have you ever considered standing for leader of the Conservatives in a direct challenge to Cameron and the Europhiles?
    Failing that, you could join UKIP.

    • Colin
      Posted February 10, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      The trouble is, of course, that since the Hague putsch of 1998, there is no mechanism by which an MP can challenge for the leadership of the Conservative Party. The only option is to hold a vote of no confidence in the incumbent leader, by which MPs would be asked to remove him with no alternative candidate in place, followed by an open election. MPs are naturally reluctant to take a shot in the dark like this.

      From 1965 until 1998 the Conservative leader had to submit to re-election every year. Most years the incumbent was returned unopposed, but the option was there for a challenge, as happened in 1975, 1989 and 1990. It was foolish to remove this option, but of course it served the leadership, rather than the membership, to do so.

  4. Posted February 10, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Switzerland is one of the best democracies, so much so that the electors have the right to demand a referendum on any proposed government action.
    This is clearly something that is an anathema to the mandarins in the EU !
    It is time we joined Switzerland on the outside of the EU to form a European Independence Area!

    • arschloch
      Posted February 10, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      Not as much as an anathema to the liberal establishment in the UK. You know what the peoples will in the UK is with regard to hanging, immigration, EU membership, gay rights etc. You might have a representative democracy in the UK but the people involved in it are totally unresponsive to what the voters really want.

  5. Richard1
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    This is an interesting test case, and could be a good opportunity for some clear blue water. Labour and the LibDems will presumably support the EU bureaucracy as it attempts to stiffle the democratic wishes of the Swiss. The Conservatives should ensure the UK breaks ranks, supports Switzerland and vetoes any protectionist measures the EU may try to impose.

    EU countries have a lot to learn from Switzerland. With its system of direct democracy it is far more democratic than any EU country. Taxes are lower, the govt runs a balanced budget or surplus, public services, particularly health, are far superior to most EU countries, especially the UK. And despite the worlds strongest currency the food chemicals engineering and pharmaceutical industries of Switzerland are world beating exporters.

    The UK should be emulating Switzerland, not EU countries like France Spain and Greece.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted February 10, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Indeed, spot on!

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 10, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      Lionheart–Totally agree. It’s a bit like Mr Bates in Downton Abbey when he says that [a problem] cannot be the fault of his wife Anna because she doesn’t have any faults. That’s how I view Switzerland: the wretched EU is not fit to wipe her boots

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted February 10, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      “The UK should be emulating Switzerland, not EU countries like France Spain and Greece”

      What and lose the single market? No thank you.

      We need the single market to make money in our business. You are putting your political interests above that of my business and our 42 employees.

      • Richard1
        Posted February 10, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        I don’t see why. Switzerland is in a customs union with the EU so has full access to the single market. Per capita exports from Switzerland to the EU are much higher than the UK’s though Switzerland is not in the EU.

        This is going to be the issue that decides the EU referendum – I am a floater on it at the moment – is it really right that we will lose the EU market (3m jobs etc) if we leave the EU and have a Switzerland type deal? We often hear it asserted, especially by LibDems, but where’s the evidence?

        • uanime5
          Posted February 10, 2014 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

          Switzerland is in a customs union with the EU so has full access to the single market.

          One of the requirements for this customs union is complying with all EU laws, so expect Switzerland to lose access to the single market if they infringe on the EU’s “freedom of movement”.

        • Peter Davies
          Posted February 11, 2014 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

          We are in the EEA – Switzerland isn’t. We could leave the EU tomorrow and little would change apart from having a negotiator for directives though I’m sure the UK has enough clout to put someone in place for that

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 10, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

        Yul–The eternal question, which one never gets an answer to (and I mean any answer, never mind a satisfactory one–I do not count stuff from Unanime, which I never read) is: if you were Canadian and understandably selling in to the US, would you be bewailing the fact that there is no North American Union with its over-hyped “single market” and its political nightmares along the lines of the EU? I can assure you, having lived there, that you would not. You would be perfectly happy with NAFTA and if anyone were to suggest that you give up your sovereignty to anything like the extent we have, you would think him demented. What would be so (or at all) different about an independent UK and the bloc of rest of the EU? Canada/USA is just one example of course. If anything, one might expect Canada to be more not less likely to want a NAU for a host of obvious reasons such as the long land border, the common language and the fact that America is a great power and friend whereas the EU is a failed bureaucratic expensive nonsense, hardly to be relied on (some of us remember Belgium being unwilling even to sell us ammunition at the time of the Falklands).

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted February 11, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

          Hi Leslie. Thanks for your reply. I looked at this issue solely from a business sense so this is not about sovereignty. My business relies on people from the EU coming to the UK for an average of duration of three years or so at a time. They are working and studying here at the high end of the labour/technology market. We supply them with all kinds of auxiliary services. They come here partly because the UK is physically close to Europe (as they often have committments in their home countries) and partly for the expertise they offer and which, in turn, the UK offers them. It is of mutual benefit and my business is currently expanding. This represents quite an investment of time and money both from the UK and from those people from the EU and in my view, the current political discourse in the UK is not conducive to this as this commitment relies upon complete and unrestricted freedom of movement of capital and labour and people. We are dependent chiefly upon the latter. As you know business dislikes uncertainty and those coming from the EU member states are being deterred by the uncertainty arising from the UK’s stance on the EU.

          I repeat this is purely from a business perspective although I find it ironic that the party that claims to be on the side of business is the one most afflicted by this toxic debate. The labour side is of course not immune to this either and I am not making a party political point here.

          I was interested in your points though. I have spent a short time in Canada near Halifax working, and it was indeed obvious that the Candadians had a very sniffy, almost contemptuous view of their American neighbours, particularly evident in Nova Scotia apparently, and this seems to be due to a contempt of American culture. Fortunately, at this time there seems to be no such contempt for the Anglo culture amongst our EU neighbours at present, although this may of course change if we leave the EU.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

            Hello Yul–I have not the slightest doubt that there are individual businesses for whom the present set up works well and it sounds as if you are one of them so of course you are going to defend where we are but by the same token what about the many businesses who hate the regulations and bureaucracy and being ordered around by remote overpaid (mostly) foreigners that we cannot even begin to remove and our Parliament being reduced to a rubber stamp Parish Council status? In the nicest possible way, sovereignty is bigger than mere businesses: Canada has retained her sovereignty and we are losing ours. That is the big picture. Even amongst the business community the views overall are tending to Brexit.

        • Peter Davies
          Posted February 11, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

          “I do not count stuff from Unanime, which I never read” – you should LOL!

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

            Peter–Thank you for the advice but I think I shall remain ISQ

      • Mark B
        Posted February 10, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        Switzerland has access to the EU market via bi-lateral arrangements. Should the UK choose to leave the EU, which is a POLITICAL PROJECT, I would assume it would make good sense to have access to the Single Market by being an EEA Member, similar to that of Norway.

        And yes I am aware of the tired arguments from some posters about, “making of the rules.”

        yulwaymartin

        If you could still trade with the EU on current terms, but no longer being part of the EU/Political dimension, would you still wish to remain part of what is a Federal Government in the making ?

        If so, why ?

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted February 11, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

          Mark B: thanks for your reply. I suspect that if we were outside the EU we would not be able to trade on exactly the same terms in that we would need work permits and there would probably be more paperwork etc but as we link with individuals from other EU member states at the high end that would not, by itself, be insurmountable. . Our labour costs would probably go up a bit as we use EU migrant workers at the lower end. and there is at present an ample pool of labour. That would be my business perspective.

          My political views are, as you know, pro EU.

          I have tried to give you an honest and straightforward answer.

          • JoeSoap
            Posted February 12, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

            Difficult to know where you are in this market without more details.
            I’d say if you’re employing foreign workers instead of British ones then there should be some hurdle that has to be crossed in comparison with employing workers for whose education we have paid as taxpayers. After all, you might be making a profit from your activity but a slice of that will go in tax to pay for the British person whose education has been paid for but is on the dole/in a lesser job.
            If you can’t find suitably qualified Brits then fine, and the government should a/support you in bringing people in and b/use your information to plug the gap in future.
            If you’re actually selling services to overseas people here that’s different, but I guess somebody else is employing them and in the same boat.
            I think you’ll find this happens in Australia, USA and did happen in Switzerland.

  6. Alan Wheatley
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    I wholeheartedly agree.

    • Atlas
      Posted February 11, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      I second this!

  7. Mark B
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Its not just Switzerland.

    And this is the irony of the EU. They talk of peace and the need for dialogue but, when they do not get their way, they turn nasty.

    Your last sentence tells me you still do not understand the EU. The EU was deliberately set up to subvert democracy and the National veto. It is this sort of thing that the EU most despises – people acting on on behalf of their own self/national interests and FORCING their elected representatives to act.

    At this rate, the EU will lose an awful lot of friends and, in an international community when good relations are important for trade etc, the EU is in no position to throw its weight around. If it did, we could very well witness that the EU Emperor has no clothes and would do it and their supporters much harm.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 10, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      You removed my references to Mary Synon’s blog over at the Daily Mail – why ?

      You have allowed references to the DM before and also to Dr. North’s site. Why remove those links, they are already in the public domain and were in no way slanderous ? In fact they were less slanderous than you own headline.

      Mr. Redwood MP sir, I would like an explanation, please.

      Reply Because I did not have time to look it up. Why don’t contributors just summarise the key points from another site if they wish so we can all share it.

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    JR: “It is high time the EU bent to the democratic will of the European peoples, instead of amassing more and more power to itself.”
    Fine, but you know very well that what you propose is the very antithesis of what the EU stands for. Yesterday we learnt from the Telegraph: “EU to force Britons to publish details of wills and property. A bill being debated in Brussels would force UK citizens to disclose ‘reams’ of private, financial information on a public register.” Now, what are you and your leader going to do about that?
    As for wanting the UK to champion Switzerland’s cause I don’t expect that to happen. In fact, this will now be used by your colleagues as more evidence of why we must remain under the rule of Brussels.

  9. Martin Ryder
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    The EU will solve this little problem by leaning on the Swiss government and demanding another referendum.

    They will spend a lot of the money that we have borrowed, so that we can pass it to the EU Commission, on propaganda and the next referendum will have the ‘right’ result. It will be good practice for them just in case the highly improbable happens and we get an in/out referendum.

    Fancy the Swiss thinking that they have the right to say who can and who cannot live in their country – what a cheek!

  10. Douglas Carter
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Whilst I know that the Swiss Electorate have recorded a complexity in Swiss\EU relations in recent days, (as they have every democratic right to) I would deconstruct the argument to levels below the academic detail.

    The EU in ethos has a cultural absolute antipathy to the sovereign nation state. They’ve been desperate for an excuse for further assaults on Swiss independence and any opportunity they have to seize upon, they will do so. It’s in the DNA of the administration.

  11. yulwaymartyn
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    No. The EU should get rid of the Swiss out of Schengen. If they are not up to it (by a margin of around 0.4%) kick them out. That’s what happens if you can’t play by the rules. Out of the club and do it this week. Immediate response required by the EU.
    Switzerland out. All benefits withdrawn.

    • Vanessa
      Posted February 10, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      They are NOT members !

      • Mark W
        Posted February 11, 2014 at 6:40 am | Permalink

        Don’t let facts get in the way of the belligerent order barking of the pro EU lobby..

      • yulwaymartyn
        Posted February 11, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        out of Schengen. And now.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 11, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Yes, I remember that kind of thing being said after the Irish dared to vote against the Lisbon Treaty. Bullying, vicious, arrogant.

      You do realise that as of yet nothing has actually happened to justify the EU doing anything other than talk to the Swiss about it, and certainly as the Swiss have not yet broken any treaty with the EU there would be no justification for the EU to anticipate events by peremptorily breaking any treaty ?

  12. JoeSoap
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    This could get interesting economically as Germany has an enormous use for Swiss-made components in automotive, medical and aerospace industries. The Swiss have bent over backwards in buying Euros to peg the Franc to the Euro so as to be able to feed the German industrial machine with parts at Euro-linked prices….

    I guess the Swiss figured the alternative was to price themselves out of Mercedes, BMW etc…. with a currency linked to their prudence rather then Euro-profligacy. The Swiss just have to keep on top of this – once the cat is out of the bag, and the Germans can produce the specialist chemicals and parts better and cheaper than the Swiss, then Switzerland could be in some trouble…. I don’t believe they can rely on Rolex and chocolates alone.

    It would perhaps have been better for them to have undergone actual deflation at home and kept the franc strong, reduced wages and costs… painful, but perhaps better than what their Central Bank has been doing.

  13. alan jutson
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Well done Switzerland !

    Just face facts, the EU do not like people to have referendums, because they may make alternative choices, it is as simple as that.

    This does not bode well for our so called future negotiations with the EU.

    Do we have a strong enough leader to stand up against the EU for UK interests ?

    • Bob
      Posted February 11, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      @AJ

      Do we have a strong enough leader to stand up against the EU for UK interests ?

      Not yet.

  14. peter davies
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Indeed, how dare the Swiss, landlocked inside the EU express their democratic rights to pass laws as they see fit?

    Just who do they think they are? A well run self governing nation state? Forget it.

    This goes against the very ethos of the EU – as with any good socialist you are only ‘right’ if you are compliant meekly go along with what they say. If you fall out of line then expect the full force of their power to work against you.

    • Mark W
      Posted February 11, 2014 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      Switzerland will probably end up like West Berlin. A capitalist beacon walled off in a socialist hell. I just hope we don’t let them down of there’s an airlift crisis

      • Bob
        Posted February 11, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        @Mark W

        Switzerland will probably end up like West Berlin. A capitalist beacon walled off in a socialist hell. I just hope we don’t let them down of there’s an airlift crisis

        I’m afraid that David Cameron is more of a “Ted Heath” than a “Winston Churchill”.

  15. forthurst
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    “The EU has shown its contempt for democracy yet again by its unpleasant response to the vote in Switzerland.”

    The EU is not very happy, either, with the government of Ukraine which has realised the enormous damage to their economy which EU membership would incur. EU politicans, with speeches, have been openly encouraging the (protesters ed) in Maidan Square, wishing to overthrow their democratically elected government(words leftout ed). The EU is not alone, as the neocon US State department, also, has been meddling rather more deeply in Ukraine’s affairs, (personal allegations against a US official removed ed)

  16. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    All this goes back to the “four freedoms”, with Article 3(a) of the 1957 Treaty of Rome removing restrictions on the movement of “goods” within the EEC and then Article 3(c) doing the same for “persons” lumped in with “services and capital”:

    “(c) the abolition, as between Member States, of obstacles to freedom of movement for persons, services and capital”.

    Followed by Article 7, under which “any discrimination on grounds of nationality shall be
    prohibited”, albeit with certain provisos.

    It takes a peculiar, and even unhealthy, kind of mentality to assume that “persons”, sentient human beings, should be treated as just another economic input alongside inanimate “goods”, and “services”, and “capital”, and with no distinction to be made between the citizens of one nation state and those of another.

    Certainly if a system of chattel slavery had been in operation in the participating countries then it might have been appropriate for them to implicitly recognise that in their treaty by insisting on the freedom to buy and sell and transport “slaves” across their borders, because chattel slaves were treated as commodities and so there would have been nothing extraordinary about simply lumping them in with the other three economic inputs as if they were just impersonal sources of labour rather than human beings with their own thoughts and feelings and loyalties.

  17. Max Dunbar
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    With (people ed) like Laszlo Andor, the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion what can we expect? As a (leftwards inclined person ed), of course he is going to be one of those who attack independent minded and democratic countries like Switzerland. He attacked Cameron recently for daring to suggest that our lax immigration rules need to be updated. And remember Austria a few years back, when politicians were elected who did not adhere to the ‘values’ of the EU?
    Let’s get out of the EU, but that is not going to happen unless there is some sort of revolution here, in Britain.
    Firstly, remove the threat of regional separation which weakens us, secondly remove the threat of a (more) socialist administration gaining power here and thirdly take action to deal with the Leftist infiltration and subversion of all our important institutions with special attention paid to the BBC and judiciary.
    The prerequisite to exit from the EU is to get our own house in order, and I would suggest that ideas and principles are backed up with whatever means are deemed appropriate and realistic.

    • Peter Davies
      Posted February 11, 2014 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      That’s a wish list and a half – cant see that happening anytime soon

  18. Antisthenes
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    The EU is the next best thing to a dictatorship despite it having a parliament (which demonstrates how flawed representative democracy is) so needs to have checks and balances added that make it more accountable to it’s citizens. Adopting the Swiss referendum approach for every member state of the EU could at one stroke increase the democratic process considerably domestically and EU wide. Perhaps then we would see more government “of the people for the people by the people” instead of the few governing the many for the benefit of the few.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 10, 2014 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

      The EU is the next best thing to a dictatorship despite it having a parliament (which demonstrates how flawed representative democracy is) so needs to have checks and balances added that make it more accountable to it’s citizens.

      The EU already has a separate legislator (European Parliament), executive (European Commission), and judiciary (European Court of Justice). What other checks and balances does it need?

      Adopting the Swiss referendum approach for every member state of the EU could at one stroke increase the democratic process considerably domestically and EU wide.

      This already exists and is called the European Citizens’ Initiative. Basically if 1 million people from a quarter of the EU member states agree to an initiative they can call on the Commission to propose a legal act.

      Before somebody starts trying to get the support of 1 million people in the UK to try and make the EU do something I’d like to point out that an EU member states is only considered to support something if a certain percentage of its population supports it. So once 54,750 people in the UK support an initiative any more supporters won’t count towards the required 1 million supporters.

      • Bob
        Posted February 11, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        @uanime5
        The EU Parliament is just a fig leaf to give the appearance of democracy. In reality it’s just a sausage machine operation rubber stamping legislation en bulk.

        • Peter Davies
          Posted February 11, 2014 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

          Indeed – its not far off what the USSR looked like, a posher more upto date version

  19. Chris
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I understand that many in the political elite did not want this vote result, and that this is the people speaking, rather than the government. Also, and significantly, the rural areas were apparently responsible for voting to restrict immigration, but not the urban areas. It was not pleasant listening to an European Commisssioner/spokesperson on The Worl at One today, and I had the feeling tha it would not be long before pressures of various sorts would ensure that the people voted again, and this time to remove any cap. Yes, there seem to be huge bullying tactics at work, but that is how the EU seems to function – a relentless drive towards political integration, with power and wealth concentrated at the core, and governed by a political elite, wholly unaccountable. Democracy does not feature. The sooner we start to disentangle ourselves from the EU the better. It is an exceedingly powerful and, I believe, sinister organisation, which we should never have become a part of. I would plead with Conservative MPs who have the sovereignty and independence of the UK at heart to join with UKIP to save our country. I sincerely believe that time is running out.

  20. Bert Young
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    The Swiss will not be worried too much by the EU reaction . They have shown that their country can host centres of scientific importance ( CERN ) and attract organisations of independent significance ( Red Cross ) . It has always been regarded as the right place to hold peace talks , international conferences and some aspects of banking regulation . Much of their economy is driven by high added value technology and research led products ; those individuals who have chosen to live and work there have been allowed to do so based on their contribution to society . They have now hoisted a flag for democracy and should be encouraged and admired for doing so .

  21. Vanessa
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    “The EU keeps bullying……..”
    It is the only way they know how to keep us all cowed down in fear. They know their member countries are the worst performers financially in the world and Like the USSR they keep telling us how terrible it will be if we leave. But some of us have an independent brain and can think for ourselves.

    Well done Switzerland and yes, they can ‘cherry-pick’, they are not members. The UK will be next !!!

  22. lojolondon
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Switzerland has long been a model of how a country could be outside the EU and work with the EU. I remain confused as to why on earth they would ever have agreed to open borders and accepted unlimited EU immigration!

    • uanime5
      Posted February 10, 2014 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

      The freedom of movement of people and goods is one of the four fundamental freedoms of the EU, so Switzerland had no choice but to accept it in exchange for access to the single market.

      Reply Under international trade rules any country can have access to the EU markets

      • Bob
        Posted February 11, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        @uanime5
        Did you honestly think that non-EU countries cannot trade with EU member states ? Surely not?

        • APL
          Posted February 14, 2014 at 7:45 am | Permalink

          Bob: “Did you honestly think that non-EU countries cannot trade with EU member states ? ”

          Uanime5 is a logic and fact free zone.

          Of course China and the USA are fully paid up members of the European Union. That’d explain how they can trade with the EU

          JR: “Under international trade rules any country can have access to the EU markets”

          So, why are we in – remembering it was the leader of your party that told us we needed to stay in.

          I mean, if we can trade with the EU regardless of if we are in or out, then the only possible raison d’être of the EU is political union.

          Heath, Clarke, Cameron et al, claim the opposite.

  23. Alexis
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Well said.

    I wholeheartedly agree.

    By their actions, they have also admitted that uncontrolled immigration is not a benefit – nor a ‘freedom’ – but a COST to host countries.

    No country has to be bullied into accepting something helpful!

  24. uanime5
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    The EU has shown its contempt for democracy yet again by its unpleasant response to the vote in Switzerland. They are now threatening Swiitzerland’s access to the single market!

    Well Switzerland did just vote to add quotas on EU immigration, which is a violation of the agreement which gives Switzerland access to the common market. So it’s no surprise that the EU is objection to Switzerland ignoring their obligations.

    Don’t these bureaucrats understand that there is a higher international law on trade and tariffs which the EU as well as Switzerland has to obey? The EUcannot just unilaterally impose tariffs against international rules.

    Good thing tariffs aren’t against International rules, which is why the EU and USA are able to put them on goods from each other.

    The EU is constantly trying to bully people who disagree with some of its ways.

    Well the conditions for access to the common market is complying with EU laws. I suspect if the UK started disobeying EU laws we’d be treated much the same way.

    They seem to think the trade between member states and with states outside the EU is for them to allow or remove.

    To a degree it is. After all you can’t trade with the EU unless you belong to a country that has a trade agreement with the EU.

    It is high time the EU bent to the democratic will of the European peoples, instead of amassing more and more power to itself.

    If the people of Europe want all the benefits of trading with the EU they should be prepared to obey the EU’s rules, such as allowing anyone who belong in the EU to live and work in any EU or EFTA country.

  25. Steve Cox
    Posted February 11, 2014 at 4:04 am | Permalink

    Jeremy Warner’s article in the Telegraph this morning is a salutary description of just how disconnected from reality the people running the EU really are, and just how crazy our government is to kowtow to their every demand.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/10629856/With-competitive-ruin-looming-energy-policy-needs-a-brand-new-start.html

    My cousin, who has worked his whole life at the steel works in Port Talbot, was made redundant last year (along with 500 others) as part of Tata’s cost-cutting programme to try and stay in business in spite of the government’s and the EU’s combined best efforts to make their business uneconomic. In a depressed town like Port Talbot he has little chance of finding gainful employment, yet he’s in his early 50′s and has two children still at school so he cannot afford to be out of work. This idiocy makes my blood boil, Heaven knows what he must feel like.

    • yulwaynartyn
      Posted February 12, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Jeremy Warner, it seems to me, knows absolutely nothing about economics. He is the most over valued and political of all economics journalists. The telegraph should replace him.

  26. Tesla
    Posted April 15, 2014 at 2:05 am | Permalink

    I have read so much about the EU bullying Switzerland over everything from immigration to trade, and they are not even a member of the EU!!

    Sitting here in Australia, I see that myself and many of my fellow countrymen can see the spectre of the EU for what it really is, unelected bureaucrats bullying everyone and not heeding their member states.

    However, is there any way for us to let the Swiss know that we are watching, that we are in support of their cling to sovereignty, that we applaud their independence and strength as a people? Simply to tell them to ‘hang in there’.

    Maybe there is a letter to the editor of a Swiss newspaper we can write to, to show support.
    Any ideas?
    -Tes

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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