The Union Jack is all over Switzerland’s weekend newspapers, even in the form of a middle fingernail piercing an EU flag.
Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is a topic of keen interest to the Swiss, who are not members of the 28-country bloc – despite being surrounded by Europeexternal link. Here’s a round-up of newspaper commentary on Brexit from around the country.
“The unpleasant truth is that nobody can really say how things will proceed, because so many developments have become possible. That alone is a catastrophe not just for Britain, but also from the perspective of the Swiss economy.” Its cover cartoon has the headline “Europe’s last chance” and an image of Europe struggling under problems like refugees and the euro currency crises.
Along with its middle finger cartoon, tabloid Blick has the simple headline, “England’s clear message”. For readers in a hurry, it summarises two key points. “Bad for the Swiss export industry: There’ll be a second Frankenschock [strengthening of the Swiss franc]. Good for Swiss tourists: Trips to London will be cheaper.”
“Quite obviously, the EU has remained alien to many Europeans. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker involuntarily demonstrated why yesterday. His main message was that British Prime Minister David Cameron should come to Brussels on Tuesday with an exit request. A commanding tone and cold settlement mentality instead of humility and self-reflection about what the EU should be, and what not.”
On its front page it noted that the “unthinkable” had happened, and its cartoon of Britain rowing away from Europe illustrates what it calls a “capital victory” for nationalism.
“The citizens of Britain have launched a wake-up call of sorts: They said it loud and clear that they are no longer able to recognise themselves in the Europe that Europe has become since the eastern enlargement. It’s a ragtag club with engine failure and no common history.”
“Which Europe do we want?” asks the western Swiss magazine, pointing out that as previously, there is no single “Europe” in terms of tax, budget and social issues. “Money is the mirror of society, but not its horizon. The cart was put before the horse.”
“The free movement of people can probably only be saved if the EU lets the countries involved have a certain amount of control over immigration. That’s how [the EU] could take the wind out of the sails of its opponents – in the British referendum, immigration was main argument of the Leave side.”
In its cartoon, Bund wondered if there would be a United Eurasia in ten years, suggesting that this would suit Russia.
“The main problem in Europe is that it is based on an ideal that is not always compatible with the will of the people.” As for Britain, “Europe has one of its lost heavyweights. While France and Italy are not in a position to be a counterweights, Germany will soon stand not only as the lead-footed sole leader, but as an amputated colossus.”
Neue Zürcher Zeitung
“The long and fickle history of Britain’s relationship to the European unification project ends with a divorce. There’s no script for what will happen after this leap into the unknown following the narrow referendum. At the moment, the only certain thing is the uncertainty caused by Brexit.”
The French-speaking paper draws a parallel between the reasons for Swiss isolationism and Britain’s decision to go it alone. “A rejection of the excessive bureaucracy and threat to freedom.”
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