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Daum, Matthias

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Die Zeit - Germany | 10/02/2014

A high price for ideological conflict

The outcome of the referendum has put the people of Switzerland in a difficult position vis-à-vis the EU, the online edition of the liberal weekly paper Die Zeit comments, adding that the vote was really about the country's self-image: "In fact the real dispute in the referendum was not about the oft-invoked 'density stress'. It wasn't about the lack of seats on trains, the congestion on overcrowded roads, the horrendously high rents in the cities. Because in those areas actually inhabited by the new immigrants, that is in Zurich, Geneva and the Vaud, the SVP's initiative was rejected. ... The mass immigration initiative became a vote on Switzerland's image of itself. And the conservative, rural areas won by a razor-thin margin over the liberal, urban areas. ... However the country may well have to pay a huge price for this ideological vote. Because the quotas called for in the text violate the bilateral treaties between Switzerland and the EU."

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