European Affairs

Gotthardbasistunnel. Photo/Foto: Pechristener/Wikipedia.


Since 1990, Switzerland has made efforts to ensure the development of the European transport system and the integration of the European high-speed rail network through the construction of the Gotthard Base Tunnel (Gotthardbasistunnel). Together with the new freight line from Rotterdam to the Dutch-German border, the Gotthard tunnel is an important construction on the European corridor Rotterdam-Milan-Genoa, were it not for the fact that in Germany and Italy the promised projects are stagnating and are not getting off.

The opening of the Gotthard Tunnel (1 June 2016) has not only a practical European meaning, but is also of symbolic value. The 15 kilometers Ceneri base tunnel in Italy and the connection between Karlsruhe and Basel are lacking, as is the extension of the so-called Betuwe line in the Netherlands, because Germany is protecting the Hamburg. The Gotthard Tunnel is also an important event for the European Union. A small country in the middle of Europe has completed this project within the budget, without waste, without corruption, without EU-money and a year ahead of schedule. However, despite agreements and financial support from Switzerland, Italy and Germany do not deliver, at least not as planned and agreed.

Making a tunnel through the Gotthard, a mountain range of granite, is not a problem for Switzerland, but EU countries and the EU with their usual pacta non sunt servanda cannot be overcome. Switzerland does not want to join the EU any more and withdrew its application for EU membership in June 2016. Facts are decisive for this democracy and not the paper on which agreements are written. Any agreement with the EU is worth as much as the paper on which it is written (euro, external border control, ‘Dublin’, the illegal German toll system, states aid, Nordstream et cetera).

The absence of the (five) “European Presidents” (“no time”) at the opening and festivities on 1 June tells something about these eurocrats. They do not value European projects that are delivered without waste, without corruption, without EU-money and within time. They do not have to, because they are not held accountable by a functioning European parliament or elections. In a referendum in 1992 (64%) of the Swiss voters said a clear ‘yes’ to this project, and there was clear political legitimacy.

At the end of the Cold War in 1989, Switzerland also looked to the EU. There was not much choice in 1990 and the EU was only dedicated to its core business, until the overambitious Maastricht Treaty. In 1992, the citizens (50,3 %) voted against the EU, but the establishment respected this result, although it was in favour of EU-accesssion. Nowadays, many former Jasager are very grateful to these 50.3%. In 2001, almost 77% of voted against this EU and more than 80% of citizens are likely to vote against accession of this EU. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

This EU is not compatible with Swiss democracy, its innovative, competitive economic and monetary model, self-respect and the social system. The EU does not want and cannot reform. The elites fear the voice of the people, in Switzerland they protect the elite from madness, the delusion of the day and opportunism however. The abolition of borders without adequate control mechanisms of the frontiers or the ill- fated, irresponsible and reckless euro are disastrous for the EU in the end. Ambitions, propaganda, (war) rhetoric and myths of European brotherhood, solidarity and democracy are bad advisers in the long term.   (Text and source: W. Koydl, Die Bessermacher, Zürich 2016).