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SWISS PEOPLES' PARTY

Far-right party seeks to limit development aid

The far-right Swiss People's Party wants to launch an initiative to limit the amount of development aid paid out to poorer countries.

 

Far-right party seeks to limit development aid
123Click (File)

The president of the Swiss People’s Party, Toni Brunner, expressed regret at the government’s decision to increase development aid in an interview with newspaper SonntagsBlick.

The National Council has already approved a budget from 2013 to 2016 of 11.35 billion francs ($11.62 billion). This means that by 2015, 0.5 percent of Switzerland’s GDP would be spent on aid.

This figure is nevertheless below that proposed by a petition in 2008, when 200,000 people said Switzerland should dedicate 0.7 percent of its GDP to development aid.

“A level of 0.7 percent would not pass in parliament,” Jacques Neirynck from the Christian Democratic Party told newspaper Tribune de Genève reported.

Brunner would prefer to set a constitutional percentage limit on the amount of aid set aside by Switzerland, as well as a sum that should not be exceeded. The party has not yet proposed any exact figures.

Another SVP idea, rejected by parliament, was to link the amount of aid given to a particular country to the level of cooperation received from that country in dealing with returned asylum seekers.

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SWISS PEOPLES' PARTY

The decision to re-open Switzerland’s borders is ‘incomprehensible’, says Swiss People’s party

The right-wing group says the government’s plan to start recruiting foreign workers from June 8th and re-open its borders with Germany, Austria and France from June 15th, is detrimental to Switzerland’s future.

The decision to re-open Switzerland's borders is 'incomprehensible', says Swiss People's party
The SVP is against Switzerland opening its borders to the EU. Photo by AFP

In response to the Federal Council’s announcement about the easing of travel and employment restrictions as of June 8th, the Swiss People’s Party (SVP / UDC) said on its website that it “demands the maintenance of strict border controls”. 

“The decision to restore the free movement of people and to abolish border controls is an affront to the Swiss who find themselves unemployed because of the Covid-19 pandemic”, the SVP said in a press release.

It added that even though “almost two million people, more than a third of all Swiss workers, are on short-time work and more than 150,000 have lost their jobs, the Federal Council wants to bring even more foreign workers into Switzerland”.

READ MORE: Switzerland relaxes work and residency restrictions: What does this mean for foreigners?

It goes on to argue that “following the sharp increase in unemployment in all neighbouring countries, Switzerland will inevitably suffer an additional influx of immigrants that cannot be arrested because of the free movement of people”.

“In addition, the number of people entering Switzerland illegally will again increase due to the opening of borders”, the SVP said.

Even before the latest government announcement about the re-opening of borders, the SVP, the largest of Switzerland’s political parties, had been campaigning for the end of the Swiss-EU agreement on free movement of people, and against immigration in general.

In its press release, the party reiterated its long-held position that foreigners “have come to settle in our small country to work or take advantage of our social system”. 

On September 27, the Swiss will vote on the SVP-sponsored initiative, seeking to curb EU immigration into Switzerland and allowing Switzerland to set its own migration quotas. 

The referendum was originally scheduled to be held on May 17th, but had to be postponed until September due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


 

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