Authored by Soeren Kern via The Gatestone Institute,
Swiss voters have resoundingly rejected a referendum calling for the Swiss Constitution to take precedence over international treaties and law.
Two-thirds (66.2%) of voters in the November 25 referendum opposed the “self-determination” initiative, put forward by the eurosceptic Swiss People’s Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei, SVP), the largest party in the Swiss parliament.
SVP leaders had argued that the new law was necessary to safeguard national sovereignty from further encroachment by supranational organizations such as the European Union and the United Nations.
The Swiss government countered that the proposal would undermine Switzerland’s economic stability as it would require Bern to amend existing bilateral agreements with the EU, the country’s largest trade partner, to bring them into compliance with the Swiss Constitution.
The proposal’s defeat comes ahead of pending decisions by the Swiss government over whether to sign a wide-ranging EU “framework agreement,” and a controversial UN “migration pact.”
Switzerland is not a member of the EU, but has gained access to the European single market by signing a series of bilateral agreements in which Switzerland has given away large slices of its national sovereignty, including control over boundaries and immigration. In all, Switzerland has more than 120 bilateral agreements that govern its relations with the European Union.
The EU is now pressing Switzerland to sign a comprehensive “framework agreement” that would require Bern to cede even more sovereignty to Brussels. The EU, for instance, wants Switzerland to subject itself to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). If Switzerland complies with the demand, the ECJ would outrank the Swiss Supreme Court as the final arbiter of legal disputes in the country.
The EU has now increased the pressure by resorting to blackmail: Brussels is making its continued recognition of Switzerland’s SIX Swiss Exchange, the fourth-largest stock market in Europe, contingent on Swiss acceptance of the framework agreement. Switzerland’s current stock exchange agreement with the EU expires at the end of December; failure to renew it would deprive the Swiss exchange of EU-based business that generates more than half its volume.