24 November 2012
Switzerland’s desire to join the EU is unpopular as never before. In addition, the European Economic Area (EEA) is increasingly unpopular as a new survey shows. Therefore for the Swiss a political alignment with the European Union is slowly disappearing into the distance.
EU membership as clearly as ever.
The confidence of the Swiss in the European Union is gone: Only 11.5 percent of the voters are in favor of joining. Twelve years ago more than a third desired becoming a part of the EU. This is the result of an evaluation made by the Swiss newspaper "SonntagsZeitung" based on a set of surveys continuously conducted since 1993 by Institute Isopublic.
For the Swiss the EU has never been so unpopular as it is now in 2012. Even membership of the EEA – which Swiss voters rejected 20 years ago with 50.3 percent – would be rejected by a massive margin if they were to vote today; Only about 32 percent would want to join it today.
In the Euro-friendly French-speaking part of Switzerland the same trends are seen. Until 2008 a clear majority of 60 percent there spoke for EEA membership - today it's only 41.5 percent.
These figures send out a clear signal to the politicians. Their reactions reflect this. For instance Christa Markwalder FDP National Councillor said regarding European policy Switzerland is "in a serious deadlock." She advocates a "EEA light".
Old Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey (SP) does not see any alternative to bilateral agreements. SVP patron Christoph Blocher anticipating a European referendum in the next few years says, "I'll have to get involved once again." Considering these figures this fight should be one of his easiest.