Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Swiss Election Story

Over the past couple of days....if you watched enough of CNN's international caught some brief moment of a Swiss election and a number of negative comments over the outcome.  It may not make much sense.  So, let me introduce you to the Swiss nature of things.

Switzerland is a fairly independent place....smack dab in the middle of Europe.  The Swiss don't get into anyone's business....except their own.  They like their style of culture, life, and nature.  They don't like outsiders telling what to say or do.

So, over the past the EU and most European countries had a fairly liberal immigration policy.....the Swiss were divided.  Murders and assaults by to be front page news in Switzerland.

So the political folks called for an immigration election.  Either they were to have open immigration and open-doors for foreigners to work in the country.....or they would deny them.

Now, there's an interesting part to the Swiss culture that I've kinda left out till this point.  You small as Switzerland's a country about the size of southern's got three separate cultures at work.   French, German and Italian. There's no such thing as a purely Swiss-Swiss culture.

You can imagine national agendas at work....with three different news media groups at work...various newspapers in different languages with different values in full display.  Everyone in Switzerland has a different view or slant on things.

Adding to this issue....there's a problem with having enough trained and capable folks for employment.  Over the past decade or two....they got used to bringing in cheaper labor, from outside of Switzerland.  The medical services crowd will tell you that they actually depend heavily on non-Swiss for the nursing profession.

So this past Sunday.....the vote was counted.  It was a narrow victory for those wanting absolute limits on immigration in Switzerland.  50.3 percent against 49.7 percent.  Then you start to go region by region, and realize that the German and Italian areas....were more against immigration allowed, than the French region.  Major urban areas were mostly for immigration.

This has upset the general trend in Europe of the past decade, and that's what most EU-watchers point at.  You don't want trends like this starting undo everything the EU has least some folks seem to think this way.

The curious thing?  Roughly a quarter of the current residents of Switzerland are foreigners....immigrants.  They didn't get a say in this vote....but they can detect some national trend going against them.

The vote implies now....that the government has to go this direction and has three years to accomplish the goals of the vote.  Some government folks are a bit disturbed over the implications.....meaning some significant economic choices have to be made in the future....which lead into issues and problems.

What drove this whole process?  A number of Swiss look around at crime, statistics, assaults, murder, drug usage, cost of living increases, and apartment prices today versus twenty years ago.   You have to blame these on something, and the immigration factor is probably a issue which should have been discussed lightly a decade ago....but no one wanted to put it on the table.

The future?  I would imagine somewhere in the next five or six years.....some company realizes they've got empty positions and can't fill it with quality people.  They note this to the government who simply shrugs and nods that they understand this.  The company talks to other folks, and eventually decide to move operations to Austria, or Italy, or France....where they can find folks readily and easily.  Swiss communities will complain about the loss of better paying jobs.  Nursing slots will be harder to fill....which leads to emergency meetings where they discuss the trend and the possible solutions.

The more you try to fix something.....the more it usually is more screwed up down the line.

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