Switzerland slammed as 'black sheep' over expulsion vote

29th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Switzerland was slammed as the "black sheep" of Europe on Monday after voters endorsed a far-right push to automatically expel foreign residents convicted of certain crimes.

Austrian website news.at headlined an article saying: "Switzerland is now the black sheep -- majority for tougher rules against foreigers."

The headline was a reference to the signature poster campaign mounted by the far-right Swiss People's Party (SVP) in its push for the expulsion, depicting white sheep kicking a black sheep out of the Swiss flag.

On Sunday, 52.9 percent voted in favour of automatic expulsions and 47.1 percent were against, with the country's German-speaking majority largely backing the proposal. Only six of the 26 cantons rejected the initiative.

The vote came exactly a year after Switzerland shocked the world by agreeing to ban the construction of new minarets, which was another proposal backed by the SVP.

Switzerland's biggest circulating tabloid Blick headlined the news "Get out" (Raus in German).

Newspapers across Europe criticised the Swiss decision, with Belgian newspaper Le Soir saying that "Switzerland has once against chosen the radical road."

With the vote, "the Swiss have once again slapped the EU in the face," as the expulsion is "absolutely incompatible with the bilateral accord of free movement of people which links Switzerland to EU," said the newspaper.

The vote could "put all bilateral accords in question," it added.

Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung headlined their article "Switzerland violates international law."

"Switzerland sends -- like a year ago with the ban on minarets -- a signal to the world that it doesn't care what others think of it," said the newspaper.

"The signal from the Swiss calls for a response... The European Union should not tolerate a country, with which it is tightly linked, to position itself so wantonly apart from this community.

"Switzerland has violated one of the seven bilateral accords with the EU. And theoretically, it is also bringing six others into question," added the journal.

"Austria's Die Presse said Switzerland demonstrated a sort of "schizophrenia."

"On the one hand, murderers, rapists and foreign drug dealers must be expelled. On the other hand, despots, dictators, mafia or businessmen crooks, whose money have often dodgy origins, are always welcomed with a 'Gruezi.'," it noted, referring to the Swiss German greeting.

Even much of the mainstream broadsheets within Switzerland deplored their compatriots' decision.

Le Temps headlined their editorial "Anguish," criticising the SVP for imposing their agenda "with disregard for universal rights."

Le Matin said the far-right campaign was successful as the party had become a "real war machine, with a perfect propaganda service, incomparable financial means, dedicated politicians and simplistic but terribly efficient messages."

The TagesAnzeiger noted "Switzerland will not make new friends with this 'yes' -- other than with the populist right circles of Europe.

"Up to now that included the Italian Northern League, and Holland's Geert Wilders as examples. Yesterday's decision reminds us that even in the Swiss idyllic utopia, we can find their supporters," it noted.

Italy's main broadsheet Corriere della Sera quoted a Northern League politician Mario Borghesio praising the Swiss decision as "an example of judicial civility."

© 2010 AFP

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