Period IV

Vevey, Fête des Vignerons 2019. Photo/Foto: TES.

Grandeur of Switzerland

What does it mean, the grandeur of Switzerland? The many Grand Hotels, the mountain landscape and the high peaks of the Alps, the big lakes or the many beautiful cities or (direct) democracy? All true, but the real treasure and grandeur of this country are first and foremost its people and Swiss civil society. From the late Middle Ages onwards, in a process of centuries, the citizens have formed a well-functioning state of four languages, various religions, cultures and economic regions. The high involvement of the inhabitants in their village, city or canton is the result of this centuries-long development. Since Celtic and Roman times, the area of present-day Switzerland has also been an integral part of the European trade system and European political, cultural and economic developments. The academic question of whether or not 1291 is the beginning of state formation or whether the Bundesbrief dates from 1291, 1315 or even the 16th century, and whether or not William Tell did exist, is not relevant and does not detract from this unique history and development.

The recently concluded Fête des Vignerons in Vevey symbolises the citizens’ involvement in their ‘Heimat’, traditions and culture. This Fête is no exception, but in the whole of Switzerland, in small villages such as Mulegns or Scuol in the canton of Grisons or Môtiers in the canton of Neuchâtel, small and large cultural and business initiatives take place, financed by citizens, businesses, cantons or the federal government, often with an extraordinarily innovative and open approach, as the Fête des Vignerons also testifies.

It is therefore rather absurd and europopulism by (Swiss) activists to state that Switzerland is a closed and traditionally oriented society. Nothing could be further from the truth. Switzerland is blamed for not wanting to become a member of this European Union and for cherishing its centuries-old achievements and not sacrificing them on the altar of the new European unitarian ideology. That is what is meant by ‘closed’ and ‘non-innovative’. It is good to take a look at how ‘democratic’, ‘open’ and ‘innovative’ most of the countries of this EU and the EU are (40-45% of the budget to agriculture or the bizarre eurocracy, for example).

The Fête des Vignerons shows the grandeur of the country in its centuries-old involvement of its citizens. If European Federalists, as self-proclaimed world citizens and Great Europeans, find that ‘old-fashioned’, ‘reactionary’, ‘nationalistic’, ‘closed’ or not ‘innovative’, then so be it. Their predecessors of the International Socialism also thought so, and have ruined half a continent in 40 years. The current European Union, the ECB and their clientele networks are well on their way to disrupt, to impoverish and to divide an entire continent under the motto of solidarity and brotherhood, also in the name of democracy and peace, that goes without saying. Switzerland demonstrates the limits of the proces of European federalism and what it is all about: the commitment of the citizens, democracy, innovation, decentralisation, openness and competitiveness.