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Switzerland needs own island off Greece: MP

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Switzerland needs own island off Greece: MP
Santorini is not one of the many Greek islands currently up for sale. File photo: AFP
16:45 CEST+02:00
Maverick Swiss national councillor Pierre Rusconi has once again sparked controversy by suggesting that Greece should sell one of its islands to Switzerland to make up for its debts to the Alpine country.

Pierre Rusconi, a member of the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP or UDC) made the controversial proposal on the programme Forum, broadcast on RTS.

“Like France which owns territories abroad, Switzerland could have one in Greece,” the politician said.

The councillor said that Bern should acquire one of 300 islands that Greece could put up for sale as recompense for the money “Switzerland will probably never see again”.

According to Rusconi, the acquisition would be a financial incentive for the landlocked country, which could build a maritime sports centre to prepare athletes, or a hotel complex.


Pierre Rusconi has a habit of making outrageous statements.

However, his views were not echoed by party leaders, with the party's vice president Claude-Alain Voiblet commenting that it was not up to the state to invest in these kind of schemes.

Rusconi's comments follow a prediction by property agent Knight Frank of a “fire-sale” of Greek islands as the country mulls a bailout proposal.

According to RTS, the politician will ask the Federal Council in September for the total amount that Greece owes Switzerland. 

The Ticino-born politician is no stranger to controversy.

In 2010 Rusconi defended a poster depicting Roma people and Italian workers in Switzerland as rats.

The poster featured Italy's Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti, an Italian worker and a Roma thief nibbling a piece of Swiss cheese. Around sixty of the posters went up in the canton of Ticino, which borders Italy. 

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