Swiss referendums, 2014

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Twelve referendums were held in Switzerland during 2014.

February referendums[edit]

Three referendums were held on 9 February on abortion, immigration and the rail network. The abortion referendum proposed that abortions would no longer be funded through health insurance, but should be paid for privately by the mother.[1]

The anti-immigration proposal was supported by the Swiss People's Party,[2] and opposes the free movement of workers between the EU and Switzerland, which was introduced following a 2000 referendum.[3]

The rail network proposal combined a number of existing federal and cantonal funds into a single permanent rail infrastructure fund, and defined a programme of upgrade projects of about 42 billion francs over 40 years, with a mechanism for the federal council to present regular updates to the programme. The initial programme includes a number of speed increases to intercity rail routes and S-Bahn expansion around Bern, Basel, and Geneva.[4]

Results[edit]

The abortion referendum, which would have dropped abortion coverage from public health insurance, failed by a large margin, with about 70% of participating voters rejecting the proposal.[5]

The immigration restriction proposal passed by a narrow margin, with 50.3% of participating voters supporting the measure; the proposal was also approved by the required majority of cantons.[6] The immigration measure requires the Swiss government to either renegotiate the Swiss-EU agreement of free movement of people within three years, or to revoke the agreement. The proposal mandates re-introduction of strict quotas for various immigration categories, and imposes limits on the ability of foreigners to bring in their family members to live in Switzerland, to access Swiss social security benefits, and to request asylum.[7] Opinion polls ahead of the vote showed the lead for the opponents of the immigration measure, but that lead began to close as the day of the referendum approached.[7]

The referendum on public rail passed with 62% of votes in favour.

Question For Against Invalid/
blank
Total
votes
Registered
voters
Turnout Cantons for Cantons against Result
Votes % Votes % Full Half Full Half
Abortion initiative 873,060 30.2 2,019,549 69.8 47,558 2,940,167 5,211,426 56.42 0 1 20 5 Rejected
"Against mass immigration" 1,463,854 50.3 1,444,552 49.7 39,750 2,948,156 56.57 12 5 8 1 Accepted
Financing and development of railway infrastructure 1,776,878 62.0 1,088,176 38.0 65,723 2,930,777 56.24 19 6 1 0 Accepted
Source: Government of Switzerland, Government of Switzerland, Government of Switzerland

Aftermath[edit]

Shortly after the Swiss voted in February 2014 in favour of tighter controls on immigration, the Swiss government informed the EU and Croatia that it was unable to sign a protocol to its agreement with the European Commission that would have automatically extended this agreement to the new EU member state. Giving Croatian citizens unrestricted access to the Swiss job market would have been incompatible with the ‘yes’ vote on the ‘stop mass immigration’ referendum. As this decision flew in the face of one of the EU's four guiding principles, the freedom of movement (the other three being the free movement of goods, services and capital), the European Commission retaliated by excluding Switzerland from research programmes potentially worth hundreds of millions of euros for its universities and suspended negotiations on Switzerland’s participation as a full member in the world’s largest and best-funded research and innovation programme, the almost € 80 billion Horizon 2020. The European Commission also suspended Switzerland from the Erasmus student exchange programme. According to the ATS news agency, some 2 600 Swiss students took advantage of Erasmus in 2011 and Switzerland played host that same year to about 2 900 foreign students within the same EU-funded programme. [8]

Thanks to intense diplomatic activity behind the scenes and fruitful bilateral discussions, Switzerland was granted a temporary reprieve, allowing it to participate in Excellent Science, the central pillar of Horizon 2020. This entitled Swiss universities to benefit from grants offered by the European Research Council and by the Future and Emerging Technologies programme, among other instruments, up until the end of 2016.[8]

On 22 December 2016, the Swiss parliament adopted a bill that gave priority to Swiss nationals and foreigners registered in Swiss job agencies but avoided introducing quotas on EU citizens. The EU approved the law, putting an end to the almost three-year crisis.[9]

May referendums[edit]

Four referendums were held in Switzerland on 18 May 2014. An initiative on minimum wage proposed that the government should promote the adoption of minimum wages in collective agreements, and set a national minimum wage of 22 francs an hour,[10] which would have been the highest minimum wage in the world.[11] The other referendums included changes to primary health care, a lifetime ban on convicted pedophiles working with children, and the procurement of the JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft.[12]

Results[edit]

Question For Against Invalid/
blank
Total
votes
Registered
voters
Turnout Cantons for Cantons against Result
Votes % Votes % Full Half Full Half
JAS 39 Gripen procurement 1,345,726 46.59 1,542,761 53.41 52,649 2,941,136 5,221,519 56.33 Rejected
Minimum wage 687,571 23.73 2,210,192 76.27 45,152 2,942,915 56.36 0 0 20 6 Rejected
Primary health care 2,480,870 88.07 336,196 11.93 98,927 2,915,993 55.85 20 6 0 0 Accepted
Restrictions on paedophiles 1,819,822 63.53 1,044,704 36.47 68,733 2,933,259 56.18 20 6 0 0 Accepted
Source: Government of Switzerland

September referendums[edit]

Two referendums were held on 28 September, with voters asked whether they supported the creation of a unified health insurance fund and the "End to VAT discrimination in the hospitality industry" popular initiative.[13] The health insurance proposal was supported by the Social Democratic Party and the Green Party, together with several user and consumer organisations.[13] The VAT initiative was launched by GastroSuisse, and sought to reduce the level of VAT paid in restaurants from the standard 8% to 2.5%, the same level paid at food stands. However, the Federal Council and the Federal Assembly both opposed the proposal, claiming it would reduce tax take by around CHF 750 million.[13]

Both proposals were rejected by voters.

Results[edit]

Question For Against Invalid/
blank
Total
votes
Registered
voters
Turnout Cantons for Cantons against Result
Votes % Votes % Full Half Full Half
Unified health insurance fund 933,012 38.2 1,512,036 61.8 27,247 2,472,295 5,240,533 47.2 4 0 16 6 Rejected
Hospitality industry VAT initiative 684,563 28.5 1,718,827 71.5 57,419 2,460,809 47.0 0 0 20 6 Rejected
Source: Government of Switzerland, Government of Switzerland

November referendums[edit]

A further three referendums were held on 30 November on the country's gold reserves, abolishing the flat tax and limiting immigration.[14] All three were rejected by voters.

The gold reserves proposal would have required the Swiss National Bank to have gold reserves of at least 20% of the value of the assets of the Swiss National Bank, and see all Swiss gold currently held in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York returned to Switzerland.[15] The popular initiative was started by Swiss People's Party MP Luzi Stamm and two other MPs, with the 100,000 signatures required for a referendum obtained by early 2013.[16] The proposal was opposed by the Swiss National Bank and the Swiss government, as it would limit the SNB's ability to print money.[16]

The flat tax abolition proposal called for residents and non-working foreigners to be taxed based only on their income and their assets, [14] whilst the immigration cap proposal put forward by Ecopop called for preserving natural resources by limiting immigration to Switzerland to 0.2% of the population per year.[14]

Results[edit]

Question For Against Invalid/
blank
Total
votes
Registered
voters
Turnout Cantons for Cantons against Result
Votes % Votes % Full Half Full Half
Gold reserves 580,528 22.7 1,974,137 77.3 59,235 2,613,900 5,247,489 49.8 0 0 20 6 Rejected
Immigration cap 671,099 25.9 1,920,454 74.1 31,147 2,622,700 50.0 0 0 20 6 Rejected
Flat tax abolition 1,053,125 40.8 1,528,114 59.2 37,529 2,618,768 49.9 1 0 19 6 Rejected
Source: Government of Switzerland

Source[edit]

Definition of Free Cultural Works logo notext.svg This article incorporates text from a free content work. Licensed under CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0: UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030,.

To learn how to add open-license text to Wikipedia articles, please see Wikipedia:Adding open license text to Wikipedia.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Volksinitiative "Abtreibungsfinanzierung ist Privatsache" [Popular initiative ‘Abortion financing is private’], CH: CH .
  2. ^ Switzerland to hold February 2014 referendum on immigration quotas, Work Permit, 28 November 2013 .
  3. ^ Swiss immigration vote very close, early projections say BBC News, 9 February 2014.
  4. ^ Swiss voters back long-term rail funding plan, Railway Gazette, 11 Feb 2014 
  5. ^ Abortions to remain covered by health insurance, Swissinfo.ch, February 9, 2014. Accessed February 9, 2014
  6. ^ Swiss agree to curb immigration and rethink EU deal, Swissinfo.ch, February 9, 2014. Accessed February 9, 2014
  7. ^ a b Swiss voters back limit on immigration, Washington Post, February 9, 2014. Accessed February 9, 2014
  8. ^ a b Hertig, Hans Peter (2015). European Free Trade Association. In: UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030 (PDF). Paris: UNESCO. ISBN 978-92-3-100129-1. 
  9. ^ Maurice, Eric (22 December 2016). "EU and Switzerland agree on free movement.". EU Observer. Retrieved 24 February 2017. 
  10. ^ "13.014 Pour la protection de salaires équitables (Initiative sur les salaires minimums). Initiative populaire". Parlament.ch. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  11. ^ Switzerland rejects world's highest minimum wage BBC News, 18 May 2014
  12. ^ Referendums of May, 2014 Swiss Federal Chancellery Retrieved March 6, 2014 (German)
  13. ^ a b c Preview of ballot proposals Swiss Review
  14. ^ a b c Referendums of 30 November 2014 Swiss Federal Chancellery. Retrieved October 13, 2014 (German)
  15. ^ Burning Issue IFA Magazine, 26 September 2014
  16. ^ a b Swiss Gold Referendum on November 30 Gold Switzerland, 22 August 2014