Swiss participation in the Schengen and Dublin agreements pays off, especially when it comes to asylum, finds a new government-commissioned report.
Dropping out of the accords would be costly, according to the paper presented by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA)external link on Thursday. It commissioned research firm Ecoplan to assess the economic impact for Switzerland of belonging to the Schengen/Dublin regulatory systems.
The main effects would be seen in border control and visa rules, the two areas mainly overseen by Schengen and Dublin, respectively.
“If Switzerland were to withdraw from Schengen/Dublin, neighbouring states would have to carry out systematic border controls at the new external Schengen border with Switzerland. This would lead to significant waiting times and congestion at border crossings,” pointed out the FDFA in a statementexternal link.
It added that visitors requiring an extra visa to travel to Switzerland might also be put off – thus lowering the nation’s appeal as a business and leisure destination. Ecoplan estimated that without Schengen/Dublin, the Swiss economy would lose income of anywhere from CHF4.7 billion ($5 billion) to CHF10.7 billion ($11 billion) by 2030. In other words, GDP would drop by 1.6 to 3.7%.
The analysis was based on figures from the years 2012 to 2016, when participation in the Schengen deal cost Switzerland an average of CHF53 million per year.
However, the asylum cooperation regulations of the Dublin agreement yield savings that well exceed the Schengen-related costs. Because Switzerland transfers more people back to other European countries than it accepts, it has saved an average of CHF270 million per year, the report found.