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EU commissioner warns against Swiss ‘no’ vote on European border agency

The European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, has warned of the negative consequences if Swiss citizens vote against raising Switzerland’s contribution to Frontex, the European border agency. A nationwide vote is planned on the issue on May 15.

If Switzerland decides not to respect its commitments there will be consequences, warned Johansson in an interview with the Tamedia media group published on Saturday.

“The consequence could be the end of the Schengen and Dublin accords for Switzerland,” said the 58-year-old Swedish official.

It is not in the European Union’s interest to see non-member Switzerland leave Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone, she insisted.

“But we have an agreement and we will insist that Switzerland is not able to choose which part of the agreement it may want to respect,” she added.

Schengen is not an “à-la-carte menu”, said the EU commissioner.

Switzerland is a member of the European Schengen area, within which people have the right to move freely. So it contributes to the funding of Frontex, an agency whose task is to patrol Europe’s external borders.

The agency’s global budget has been increased, which means a rise in Switzerland’s contribution from CHF24 million to CHF61 million in 2027, according to calculations by the government, and an increase in Swiss staff. The electorate will vote on this new funding on May 15.

poll published on May 4 indicated clear support (69% of people surveyed) for the plan to boost the Swiss contribution to Frontex.