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By Stéphanie Erni, English by Bronwen Saunders
Last weekend, the Swiss charged their government with the reintroduction of quotas aimed at curbing immigration. That, essentially, is what last Sunday’s referendum was all about. The result was a close call, with a wafer-thin majority of just over half the votes cast. Plebiscites on immigration-related issues always stir up quite a storm. Many foreigners living here may now feel somewhat ill at ease; as will many Swiss, who fear being tarred with the same brush of xenophobia.
But the storm will pass, and life will go on much as before. Only for the government now facing the tricky task of translating the proposal into policy can there be no return to business as usual. But let us not forget that its chief concern will be less with Switzerland’s immigrant population than with the taxes paid by the corporations that hire them to help boost Switzerland’s GDP.
Our readers can at least draw some comfort from the fact that Basel-Stadt rejected the initiative. And it was a group of Swiss, incidentally, who first launched The Basel Journal, and who without the involvement and support of the expats on the team would no longer be able to produce it.
The next issue, due out in a few weeks’ time, will once again feature reports and stories that are likely to be of interest to Swiss and expats alike. To subscribe, please visit The Basel Journal home page.