Up until recently Switzerland was a bastion of direct democracy in Europe, with its established institution of referendums providing the means for its citizens to initiate or approve all significant changes of law at the federal level.
Times have changed, however, and the Swiss have lost much of their sovereignty to the European Union — without their consent. The following guest-essay fromKitman details the latest revelations showing how democracy was stolen from Switzerland.
Echoes from the Minarets: The Discreet Evasion of Swiss Democracy
The “anti-minaret initiative” and the “initiative for deportation of criminal foreigners” served as clear reminders to the Swiss establishment that manipulation of the mass media had become an insufficient tool for controlling public opinion. It was therefore not overly surprising when a first step towards the assignment of new powers to the Swiss federal court was approved by the national assembly a few weeks ago. By allowing the federal court to “test the constitutionality” of federal laws, center-left politicians obviously hope the courts can save them from future unpleasantness. Luzi Stamm from the Swiss People’s Party rightly condemned the suggested changes as a clear “step towards the abolition of direct democracy”, whereas the Green party socialists, thrilled by the taste of judicial supremacy, exclaimed “Switzerland IS the constitution!”
Interestingly, WeltWoche revealed yesterday that the very same federal court, along with recently-departed Foreign Minister Calmy-Rey and Integration Minister Johann Schneider-Amman, have been engaged in a sinister plot to surrender Swiss sovereignty to EU courts without having to ask or tell the Swiss people about it.
Confronted with the difficult task of submitting to EU demands without anybody noticing, the federal court, in cooperation with Daniel Thürer (Swiss delegate of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance [ECRI]), developed the legal equivocations needed to make an actual referendum “unnecessary”. Among other things, the Federal court came up with following gem for insertion into the legal treaty:
“Swiss courts duly take the EU adjudication into account”.
Because the courts have already been doing this for years, that phrase, if inserted correctly, would “strengthen an interpretative mechanism” which according to the federal court would imply that “only given an imperative reason may Swiss courts deviate from EU rulings”. As seen below, Daniel Thürer went somewhat further in his arbitration, suggesting whole new EU agencies inside Switzerland with so-called “powers of co-determination” with the said federal court.
An excerpt from WeltWoche:
[T]he demands from Brussels go far beyond a modification of the bilateral agreement; in fact, they imply the annulment of the agreement. Today both parties to the agreement guard and implement it independently. And disagreements are cleared in mixed committees. However, with the “institutional link-up” demanded from Brussels, the central legal monitoring apparatus of the EU becomes sole interpreter of contracts and their implementation. Foreign judges would thus preside over the legality of [Swiss] measures for controlling migration. And since the European judges in their verdicts notoriously support free [international] contracting over all protective measures, this should cause alarm among trade unionists. The long-term consequences to all contracting are at this time not even possible to estimate.
The Swiss “silver bullet” of bilateral agreements has come to a dead end. In spite of this the Swiss Federal Council are determined to push on, and have thus begun to move the scenery around, in an attempt to disguise the fact that they have deviated from this path and embarked on a different course for EU accession. As former Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey once put it: “We are working on creative solutions.”
However, in these serious matters the creativity does not involve originality or ministerial brilliance. They concern the best way to deceive the people about the true extent of their lost sovereignty.
The preparations were made in an “arbitration” of the Europhile expert in constitutional law Daniel Thürer, professor emeritus Zürich University, along with an “advisory opinion” of the Swiss federal court. The Federal Council has refused to publish both of these papers in an attempt to conceal what they have been hiding all along. In order to ensure public access to this informationWeltwoche has made the documents available for internet download (links at the end of this report).
Daniel Thürer advised against a direct submission to the EU courts, because this would require a referendum, which currently “is sure to have a negative outcome”. He therefore proposes three ways to coat the capitulation and stamp out democracy: