Switzerland is not a member of the EU, but this has not stopped officials in Germany and across the European Union from going into meltdown mode against their independent neighbor and brazenly terrorizing the Swiss with increasingly outrageous threats over their decision to limit immigration. Gauck’s attack on Switzerland’s system of constitutional self-government, though, is among the most extreme thus far, and it has infuriated citizens all across the political spectrum.
During an official visit to the liberty-minded and fiercely independent Alpine nation last week, the German head of state blasted the Swiss system whereby the people can organize elections to override the wishes of politicians. Speaking of the immigration referendum, Gauck claimed it is “dangerous when citizens vote on highly complex issues.” It was not immediately clear why the German president thought immigration policy could be considered too “complex” for the Swiss people to make a decision about — especially considering Switzerland’s nearly unparalleled track-record of prosperity and freedom.
In fact, across Europe, fury over mass immigration and other issues has sparked calls all over the bloc for Swiss-style national referendums. However, the emerging Brussels-based super-state, like many of its member governments, has become notorious for imposing its will in defiance of the public. Indeed, the entire continent-wide effort to smash all remaining vestiges of national sovereignty and create a “federal” Europe has been accomplished almost entirely against the wishes of citizens, rather than through consent. In the few cases where referendums were allowed, the public rejected EU schemes, which were imposed anyway. The erection of the radical “Lisbon Treaty” offers an excellent example.
In an interview with the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, Gauck claimed that Germans “respect the democratic decision” made by voters. However, rather than allowing citizens to vote directly — a common occurrence in Switzerland, where the vast majority of political decisions are taken at the local and cantonal (state) level anyway — the German president touted “representative democracy” instead. He said it worked “very well” in Germany. Obviously, though, the people and even political leaders of Switzerland were not amused with the foreign leader’s criticism of their system of self-government and direct voting to override the wishes of the establishment.
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Photo of German President Joachim Gauck: AP Images