Switzerland voted on Sunday to narrowly approve a referendum proposal to stop “mass migration,” reports The Independent. The immediate impact of the referendum, which the “yes” camp won with a slim 50.3% majority, will mean an end to the free movement of people and goods between Switzerland and the EU.
Apart from having an immediate economic impact on Switzerland, the really bad news is that the referendum may boost anti-immigration sentiment, which is one of the campaign issues of right-wing populist and far-right political parties throughout Europe, in the May 25 MEP elections.
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In Finland, the anti-EU, anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam Perussuomalaiset (PS) must be jumping for joy about the Swiss referendum outcome since they see the vote as a boost to their negative stand on cultural diversity.
One of the most incredible claims of the Swiss right-wing populist Democratic Union of Center (UDC) during the campaign to stop “mass migration” was that housing, health, education and transport services would collapse under the pressure from the “foreign invasion.”
There are a lot of loaded words that are common in the anti-immigration vocabulary like “invasion” and “mass immigration” that were effectively used by the UDC. The “yes” campaign posters even showed black legs walking purposefully over a Swiss flag.
A poster of the “yes” camp against so-called “mass migration.” Source: www.thelocal.ch
The most recent referendum in Switzerland is part of a worrying trend that is gripping Europe. While some may claim it has to do with the recession, the real reason behind the undercurrent of intolerance throughout the region is our own doing since because a part of our education teaches us national and ethnic superiority over other groups.
If we aren’t careful, we will fall victim to the horrors we saw in Nazi Germany from 1933 and in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s to name a few conflicts that have gripped Europe.