The Schengen option ?

by John Quiggin on June 28, 2016

Like most people outside Britain (and, it seems, like most British people, politicans and pundits as well as voters) I hadn’t paid a lot of attention to the detailed implications of a Leave vote until it actually happened. Now that it has happened, the details matter. In particular, it seems that Boris Johnson and other leaders of the Leave campaign (though presumably not UKIP) are hoping to promote either the “Switzerland” or “Norway” options. I thought I’d check on the implications of these options for migration policy and AFAICT, both Norway and Switzerland are Schengen visa countries. So, on the face of it, those Leavers who supported continued market access on the Norway/Switerland model have voted for removal of existing controls on migration rather than the imposition of new ones.

I assume that Johnson and others have in mind a negotiation in which Britain (or England) gets the market access bits of the Norway/Switzerland options, while maintaining the existing opt-outs negotiated as an EU member. But why should the EU offer this? In particular, if Scotland becomes independent and joins the EU, the Scots will presumably want to maintain free access to England, while the rest of the EU would be unlikely to allow Scotland to remain under English border controls. In any case, the whole logic of the EU position is that Britain should not be able to pick and choose.

On the basis of an admittedly perfunctory search, I haven’t been able to find more than passing discussion of this question. Can anyone point me to more comprehensive analysis?

{ 60 comments }

1

bruce wilder 06.28.16 at 3:32 am

I believe the Swiss narrowly voted quotas in 2015, which will have to be implemented by 2017, breaking their agreements with the EU at that time. Switzerland recently withdrew their long pending application for EU membership.

2

P O'Neill 06.28.16 at 3:36 am

The March 2016 government document titled Alternatives to Membership has a discussion of this. It’s what people including now apparently Boris (!) have in mind when they talk about the EEA option. Note also that your hypothetical scenario for Scotland is a real dilemma now for Ireland, which is non Schengen.

3

bruce wilder 06.28.16 at 3:42 am

2014 referendum. The Swiss must have something in place by Feb 2017.

The Swiss have been trying to leverage the situation with Britain to get negotiations with the EU moving for some time.

4

John Quiggin 06.28.16 at 4:20 am

@2 The Alternatives to Membership document is helpful, but inconclusive. The natural reading is that the Norway model includes Schengen , but it really leaves the question open, I think.

Norway chose to be part of Schengen, which leaves two possible positions
(a) Since Norway got to choose, so should England/Britain
(b) Norway got to choose, but the Norway model now includes Schengen as part of the deal

It’s easy to see why Boris would prefer (a), but equally easy to see the EU insisting on (b). It’s consistent with the position that the Swiss can’t unilaterally back out of their participation.

5

Anders Johansson 06.28.16 at 5:18 am

To the extent that there is any clarity around the proposals that the Leave Campaign put forward (or, in most cases, are now putting forward in a desperate scramble to be seen to have a plan), I don’t think that the “Norway Option” is generally seen as incorporating membership of Schengen. Instead, it is seen as a short-hand reference to membership of the EEA – ie four freedoms (including competition/state aid, social policy, consumer protection, environment, stats and company law) but minus agriculture, fisheries, customs and tax. As I understand it, membership of Schengen is part of the acquis for the EU, but isn’t part of the requirements for EEA membership. Norway and Iceland joined Schengen because they both traditionally had open borders with the other Nordic countries, while Liechtenstein joined because it had open borders with Switzerland.
It is true to say that the EU might not agree to allow the UK to sign up to the EEA without also being part of Schengen, but this is unlikely to be the biggest sticking point!
Bear in mind that Schengen is mostly about border controls/passport checks, rather than migration per se. Clearly, if you can enter a country freely, then migration has to be regulated in a different way. However, it is the rights under the EEA Agreement that allow citizens of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein to live and work in the EU, not membership of Schengen.

6

djr 06.28.16 at 5:25 am

Ze is right that you’re not distinguishing between free movement of labour (which currently applies in the UK) and the no border controls / single process for visitor visa applications (which the UK has always opted out of). The Leave campaign seemed equally happy to confuse the two, without your excuse of living on the other side of the planet.

7

Christopher Phelps 06.28.16 at 6:15 am

Schauble: “In is in. Out is out.”

8

Ingo 06.28.16 at 6:55 am

(Republic of) Ireland is not in Schengen but in the EEA. So free movement of EU workers but off-putting treatment of travellers with visas in my experience.

9

John Quiggin 06.28.16 at 7:04 am

Maybe you can clarify the distinction for me. My understanding is that if I’m in, say, France, whatever my workforce or citizenship status, I can travel to Germany or any other Schengen country without showing any documents to anybody. So, if Britain joined, I (or anyone) could hop on the Eurostar in Paris, and get out in London in the same way. At least the way I imagine Leave voters thinking, that sounds a lot scarier than Polish plumbers.

10

Pam 06.28.16 at 7:26 am

Free movement across borders under Schengen does not imply the right to work in any Schengen country. These are two dfferent aspects of EU membership and, as noted by others, UK opted out of one (Schengen) and not the other (work rights for EU citizens).

An example which shows this might be: a non-EU citizen gets a Schengen visa and can travel freely throughout the Schengen area. But he will not be allowed to work in any of the countries without some sort of additional work permit. Thus, travel and work permits are handled differently. Just because you have Schengen travel rights does not mean you have labor rights.

11

Mercurius Londiniensis 06.28.16 at 8:01 am

One relevant document is the recent declaration by the Prime Ministers of the Visegrad Four (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary), made in Prague on 8 June. The V4 Group appears to be committed to preventing a post-Brexit UK from joining the EEA unless it concedes freedom of movement. It is not wholly clear what ‘freedom of movement’ means in this context, but the V4 is surely committed to vetoing the sort of proposal put forward by Boris Johnson in his Telegraph column yesterday, whereby the UK would have access to the EEA while controlling immigration “with a balanced and humane points-based system to suit the needs of business and industry”.

12

Mercurius Londiniensis 06.28.16 at 8:01 am

One relevant document is the recent declaration by the Prime Ministers of the Visegrad Four (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary), made in Prague on 8 June. The V4 Group appears to be committed to preventing a post-Brexit UK from joining the EEA unless it concedes freedom of movement. It is not wholly clear what ‘freedom of movement’ means in this context, but the V4 is surely committed to vetoing the sort of proposal put forward by Boris Johnson in his Telegraph column yesterday, whereby the UK would have access to the EEA while controlling immigration “with a balanced and humane points-based system to suit the needs of business and industry”.

13

Dipper 06.28.16 at 8:13 am

@ Mercurius Londiniensis

“It is not wholly clear what ‘freedom of movement’ means in this context”

Agreed. If parliament said jobs had to go to suitable UK citizens first (a straight lift and drop of the current EU legislation with “EU” crossed out and replaced by “UK”), and then to any suitable non-UK citizen, and there was no provision for economic migrants to simply turn up and claim housing and benefits, then it is not clear why free movement of people would be a problem.

14

Dipper 06.28.16 at 8:15 am

… and as many have pointed out, the V4 would face a 10% tariff on goods they export to the UK if they don’t do a deal. Not sure why they would vote for this.

15

djr 06.28.16 at 8:19 am

John, yes, your understanding of unrestricted travel within Schengen is correct. But the Leave campaign want to “reduce immigration” in the sense of not allowing Polish plumbers / Spanish pub staff / Latvian crop pickers to work in the UK. So the distinction is that one is a right enjoyed by all EU/EEA citizens, the other is an administrative convenience available to anyone within the zone.

16

Christopher Phelps 06.28.16 at 8:22 am

JQ your reading of implausibility of Johnson position sustained by NYT here today: “The few countries that have been given access to the European free-trade zone without joining the European Union — notably, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland — all contribute to the bloc’s budget and accept its bedrock principle of free movement of workers, the very issues that angered so many of the Britons who voted to leave.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/28/world/europe/boris-johnson-brexit.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=a-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

17

reason 06.28.16 at 9:36 am

“nationalist governments (like Poland) are not very likely to fight hard to make emigration easy. ”

Why on earth would Poland of all places not want emigration to be easy?

18

engels 06.28.16 at 10:23 am

But schengen has nothing to do with migration

Presumably that’s why the Title of the Treaty of Rome that establishes it is “Visas, asylum, immigration and other policies related to free movement of persons” and the relevant chapters of the Treaty of Lisbon are “General provisions”, “Policies on border checks, asylum and immigration“, “Judicial cooperation in civil matters”, “Judicial cooperation in criminal matters”, and “Police cooperation”

19

derrida derider 06.28.16 at 10:23 am

Of course Poland wants to make emigration within the EU easy – they count on remittances. Plus a racist government will always want to make it easy for those riff-raff Roma and middle eastern refugees to keep moving on.

20

engels 06.28.16 at 10:27 am

From Europa website

Free movement of persons is a fundamental right guaranteed by the EU to its citizens. It entitles every EU citizen to travel, work and live in any EU country without special formalities. Schengen cooperation enhances this freedom by enabling citizens to cross internal borders without being subjected to border checks. The border-free Schengen Area guarantees free movement to more than 400 million EU citizens, as well as to many non-EU nationals, businessmen, tourists or other persons legally present on the EU territory.

21

Salem 06.28.16 at 10:48 am

I think Quiggin is misreading the Leave Campaign. Gove and Johnson have both said, repeatedly, that they do not want the UK to be members of the EEA. Instead, they want “access” to the Single Market. When challenged on this, Johnson said that he would be happy with the kind of access the US has (i.e. the US can sell goods in Europe, but has to pay tariffs). Given the WTO, this (very limited) level of “access” is essentially guaranteed.

22

Mercurius Londiniensis 06.28.16 at 11:09 am

Ad Salem:

I do not think you have described Johnson’s current position (or at least, his position yesterday; who knows where he stands today). This is from his Telegraph article:

“British people will still be able to go and work in the EU; to live; to travel; to study; to buy homes and to settle down.”

If he means that they will be able to do all these things *as of right*, he clearly envisages a much closer involvement with the EEA than the US enjoys.

“The only change” from the status quo, he goes on, “– and it will not come in any great rush — is that the UK will extricate itself from the EU’s extraordinary and opaque system of legislation: the vast and growing corpus of law enacted by a European Court of Justice from which there can be no appeal.”

On his view, then, those who voted to leave were NOT “mainly driven by anxieties about immigration”, but by concerns about the European corpus juris.

It’s all nonsense, of course, but you can see why Ukippers are already crying betrayal.

23

Zamfir 06.28.16 at 11:22 am

@engels, I don’t understand your point. Schengen is solely about border checks and visa – most relevant to short term movement. Migration is about (semi-)permanent settlement. Those are related but distinct. Border checks don’t bother EU migrants to the UK much, as long as they can find a job or bring money. For them, the crucial rules are the one that forbids legal employment discrimination against EU citizens, and the right to settle anywhere indefinitely if you have a job there.

Non EU migrants without jobs on the other hand are greatly impacted by Schengen, as we can see in Calais.

24

engels 06.28.16 at 11:50 am

Zamfur if you don’t understand the difference between ‘nothing to do with each other’ and ‘related but distinct’ that’s not really my problem I’m afraid.

25

Zamfir 06.28.16 at 12:08 pm

Suppose we replace ‘nothing to do with each other’ by something more carefully worded. For example, ‘migration flows within the EU are hardly affected by Schengen’. Would that be OK for you?

We know one side of that comparison – the UK is not in Schengen, but does have the long-term residence rules of the EU. That’s to generate large migration flows, and those people regularly move back and forth between the UK and the continent despite the border controls.

The other side is vaguely known – how does Schengen membership work without freedom of employment? There was a transition period when eastern European members did not have full freedom of employment, but were in Schengen. The numbers increased as the restrictions were lifted, though the difference wasn’t night and day.

26

Katja 06.28.16 at 12:11 pm

@13 There is no obligation for a member state to allow “economic migrants” to simply “turn up and claim housing and benefits”. Per the Citizens Rights Directive, EU/EEA citizens and their family members can come and reside in a member state “for a period of up to three months without any conditions or any formalities other than the requirement to hold a valid identity card or passport” (Article 6), but “the host Member State shall not be obliged to confer entitlement to social assistance during the first three months of residence” (Article 24 (2)).

Obviously, a member state can choose to extend social benefits in such cases, anyway – for example, to incentivize jobseeking activities – but that is then the choice of that member state.

@12 It doesn’t even matter what the V4 say. Freedom of movement is part and parcel of the single market, going back to the Treaty of Rome. It is one of the four freedoms that define the single market. The UK simply cannot offer something good enough to make the EU think that setting a precedent where allowing countries to opt out of free movement of workers but otherwise retain full access to the single market is a remotely good idea.

27

Eimear Ní Mhéalóid 06.28.16 at 12:20 pm

One of the reasons that traditionally both Ireland and the UK were not interested in Schengen is that immigration controls in both countries necessarily depend heavily on border enforcement, because citizens are not legally obliged to carry their offical ID documents around with them. ( I would have said that Ireland doesn’t have an official ID card but apparently there is a new “passport card” which is the functional equvialent.)

28

Nick Barnes 06.28.16 at 12:40 pm

We (sadly) voted to leave the EU. We did not vote to leave the EEA. The EEA treaties do not have any implicit or explicit automatic exit provision. I think we might end up in the EEA (like Norway, Iceland, and Lichtenstein). EEA does not imply Schengen, and there is zero possibility of us entering Schengen.

29

Nick Barnes 06.28.16 at 12:43 pm

That is: we might end up *remaining in the EEA*. We are already in the EEA. If nothing changes we will remain in the EEA when the article 50 guillotine falls, but we will be in an anomalous state as we won’t be part of either pillar of the EEA (the EU on one side, the set {Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein} on the other) so the EEA treaty doesn’t specify a court to deal with disputes. That can be resolved with a tiny amendment to the EEA treaty (adding “the United Kingdom” to that list of three states).

30

FOARP 06.28.16 at 12:54 pm

@Nick – Unfortunately we are only in the EEA by dint of being in the EU (Norway and the other EFTA countries are in because the EFTA also has access). Leaving the EU, without joining EFTA or concluding a different agreement, automatically puts us out of the EEA. BTW – Switzerland is not part of the EEA either, the agreements that give it access are bilateral ones between Switzerland and the EU, but these also require freedom of movement.

Freedom of movement here necessarily means the ability to move freely to take up work, and should be distinguished from Schengen membership.

Basically, the idea that we can have free trade without freedom of movement was and is a lie of the Leave campaign, and if you bought into it, you were conned.

31

Snarki, child of Loki 06.28.16 at 1:08 pm

IIRC, there’s an old treaty (1923?) between Ireland and the UK that allows even easier migration between them than Schengen does. Which is fine, as long as the two have the same relation to the EU, but when they get out of sync, the fun begins.

32

Marc 06.28.16 at 1:11 pm

So, to be more specific, there is no barrier to a US/EU sort of trading relationship, possibly even with reduced tariffs (which would benefit both sides); but freedom to work in Europe for UK citizens logically requires the converse. It’s not entirely obvious to me from the outside where the requirement to obey EU regulations comes from, and why this is tied up with immigration issues; isn’t this the other major objection on the UK side?

33

Ronan(rf) 06.28.16 at 1:21 pm

Here are Brendan o learys ideas about resolving the constitutional issues in the UK and Ireland (including those relating to free movement within the isles, fleshed out more in comments)

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexitvote/2016/06/27/de-toxifying-the-uks-eu-exit-process-a-multi-national-compromise-is-possible/

34

Layman 06.28.16 at 1:27 pm

EU keeps saying the UK can’t be in the free market without accepting EU market regulations and the free movement of people; and Leave leaders (and some CT commenters) keep saying they’ll negotiate a deal which keeps the UK in the free market and lets UK citizens move and work freely within the EU but frees the UK from regulation and the obligation to permit freedom of movement and work to EU citizens. They’re still dissembling about what it means to leave.

35

Layman 06.28.16 at 2:51 pm

“The EU should be asking the UK, the importer, to stay in the single market, and offering concessions – right? Or what am I missing here?”

The EU is not offering that, so at least it’s good that you recognize you’re missing something.

36

Ed 06.28.16 at 3:14 pm

People on both sides of the immigration issue always confuse/ conflate border controls with the right to work in countries you are not originally from. These are quite separate, though they both relate to immigration.

A country can have strong border controls and not do anything to stop employers from hiring non-native workers. This is effectively the situation in the US, where though legally there are legally requirements for work permits and penalties for hiring people without work permits, my understanding is that they are (quite deliberately) not enforced.

Or a country can not check the documents of people entering, but be insistent of checking to see if newly hired employees have work permits, and have the government come down like a ton of bricks on employers who disobey or circumvent that. My guess is that this is the current situation with Norway.

Since nearly everyone living in a country, unless they have a non-work related income stream (and normally countries are OK with people on pensions drawn from their home countries from settling in the new place), eventually has to obtain employment there, being strict on work requirements winds up being a more effective bar against immigration than border controls. Border controls are really for a show of national sovereignty, catching fugitives from criminal justice, and countering smuggling. With immigration, the real action is on employment.

The employment issue is also what clearly divides the elites from the ordinary public. Put simply, expanding the supply of labor helps the elites a-lot and hurts people seeking work, eg most members of the public. So the votes for anti-immigration measures come mostly from people whose interests is in restricting the ability of employers from hiring immigrants, both because this is a more effective immigration control measure, and because it directly addresses the issue of competition for jobs. This is the last thing elites want, even elites leading anti-immigration movements. So you get the sort of nonsense that you are getting from most of the senior Tories in the Brexit camp.

My prediction is that the best case a program of the UK formally leaving the EU, and not abiding on EU regulatory directives in some areas, but still trying to keep the current trade, immigration (at least as it affects the labor market), and finance (as it affects the status of the City) regime will wind up with the same trajectory as the New Labour project. It can be put in place for 15-20 years and then collapse simply because most people, outside some of the elites, don’t want it and the whole thing depends on peoples’ appetite for flimflam.

37

Marc 06.28.16 at 3:50 pm

@39: You’re assuming that people also don’t want to take advantage of working outside their home country. I think that the age divide reflects this – as younger people are far more likely to want to study or work on the continent than older people are.

38

merian 06.28.16 at 4:51 pm

Sigh. Everyone with any doubt read engels @22 for the basic idea of the difference.

Zamfir @27:

For example, ‘migration flows within the EU are hardly affected by Schengen’.

Depends.

Migration flows of EU citizens within the EU, not greatly, though there are effects of, let’s call it friction.
Short-term visitor flows of non-EU citizens? Schengen surely helped tourism — one visa, and you can just travel around. Though people got into trouble with the formalities of traveling between Schengen and both individual Schengen and non-Schengen countries (a US friend of mine nearly was deported from Prague the other day because of some wrinkle between her Schengen-visa, which was valid, and the validity of her US passport, which had run out).
Migration flows of non-EU citizens who come with a work or study permit? No impact.
Migration flows of undocumented or overstaying or not fully visa’d up migrants from one EU/EEC country to the other? Schengen makes quite a difference, yes, because you can turn them back at the corner, which generates the pile-ups and unsolved ad-hoc camps at key points. (Note also that for the longest time, these undocumented migrants were trying to get to the UK because they’re treated better there or at least believed that they had a better chance of a fair hearing of their case than in Germany or France.)

Schengen never meant “completely no controls”. There were mobile units along the German/French border that could do spot checks.

Also, “free movement” also is by no means uniform. Try to go to work in Switzerland as an EU citizen — they have to take you if you have a job offer, but at least for a long time, there were huge restrictions on whether spouses could work, or the how to change jobs. But yes, overall for me working in the UK and in France required exactly the same paperwork as for a British citizen.

39

merian 06.28.16 at 4:52 pm

Well, HTML in comments is tricky. In the above, the more deeply nested bit is my response. (I was making an unordered list… sorry.)

40

hix 06.28.16 at 4:54 pm

The normal and most effective way to deal with illegal immigration would be to check peoples immigration status when they start a job. That does not require border controls or id cards.

41

RNB 06.28.16 at 5:13 pm

http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2016/06/austerity-and-racism.html
makes a similar point in regards to new norms about the expression of racism towards migrants that I have been making here on the basis of Christina Bicchieri’s work about how Trump has been changing norms for racist expression in the US.

42

Peter K. 06.28.16 at 5:19 pm

@37

As I understand it, the UK, like the US, has a current account deficit which means it needs money from outside to finance its trade deficit. It’s borrowing money to spend.

The stupid nationalists want to cut off trade and immigration but fail to realize this could also mean cutting off foreign money, i.e. their financing.

I think capital controls are a good idea to manage “hot money” which tends to flow in and out too quickly (see the East Asian Financial Crisis, or the European PIIGS debt crisis with Portugal, Ireland, (Italy), Greece, and Spain.)

But international economic regulation agreements are about investment and financing and not just imports, exports, and immigration.

43

bruce wilder 06.28.16 at 7:26 pm

France and Belgium, Germany and Austria, and the Scandanavian countries all have had border controls on some or all their borders in recent months due to terrorism or migration concerns.

Implementing Schengen with Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania, though pending, is controversial, because of migration and organized crime concerns. Any Schengen country with a non-Schengen land border poses problems.

44

djr 06.28.16 at 8:15 pm

What employers have to do about checking right to work in the UK:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/286642/summary-guidance.pdf

45

johne 06.29.16 at 2:44 am

A commenter on Charlie Stross’s “Charlie’s Diary” represents the following as part of a Stratfor analysis”
“The South Korean model. Britain’s final option would be to sign a free trade agreement with the European Union, much like South Korea did in 2009. London and Brussels would have to negotiate the scope and depth of such an accord, and it is possible the bloc would try to limit Britain’s access to specific sectors, such as financial services. Talks could prove to be lengthy; in South Korea’s case, they took roughly a decade. Members of Britain’s “leave” camp have said in recent weeks that the South Korean model would be their preferred route in the event of a Brexit.”

46

Mr Punch 06.29.16 at 5:10 pm

South Korea, of course, has actual trade negotiators.

47

TM 06.30.16 at 11:20 am

*Switzerland*

Switzerland is in a way in a similar situation as Britain. Switzerland is a big exporter and needs access to the EU market. Part of the political elite has favored EU membership but that was never realistic (it is seen as a violation of traditional neutrality – somehow WTO or OECD membership are no problem for neutrality) so they opted for the “bilateral” way instead which in effect means that Switzerland agreed to many of the things that EU membership entails – market access, free movement, but also compliance with many technical EU guidelines and regulations. Switzerland routinely adopts EU law as its own (“autonomer Nachvollzug” is the keyword). There’s some irony in this state of affairs, since Switzerland seems to have many of the obligations of membership without having a say. Of course the Swiss would never want to adopt the Euro but again ironically they would be much better off if they did since the overvalued Frank is doing vicious damage to the export industry .

Anyway in 2014, the nativists (Swiss People’s Party, going by the German acronym SVP) very narrowly won a immigration that demands immigration quotas, thus breaking the EU agreements (which were all approved by popular vote, with 67% voting yes (May 31, 2000). The government’s options are as follows:
* Cancel the EU agreements – not gonna happen
* Negotiate with the EU an addendum to the agreements that would allow immigration restrictions – unlikely to be accepted by the EU
* Unilaterally introduce restrictions and dare the EU to do something about it. The government would like to avoid this but they might try to go this route in a way that complies with the 2014 referendum on paper only, without making a real difference.
* Ignore the referendum. Nobody would say this openly but it is a very real option. There have been constitutional amendments that were ignored for decades. The nativists would in this case start new campaigns and perhaps aim at a referendum to kill the agreements altogether.

The SVP btw are stereotypical neoliberal market worshippers who have never seen a privatization, deregulation, tax cut, free trade agreement or austerity policy they didn’t like. With the usual exceptions – farm subsidies and military spending. In fact the SVP looks eerily similar to the US Republican party (they are even led by a billionaire).

Sorry to disappoint those in the audience who still confuse nativism with an anti-neoliberal, anti-establishment insurgency.

48

TM 06.30.16 at 11:22 am

… won a *referendum* that demands immigration quotas [Regret the typo]

49

TM 06.30.16 at 11:42 am

I neglected an important part of the story. To make the EU agreements acceptable especially to the unions, the government was given strong instruments to protect the labor market, including the power to impose minimum weages and even industrial agreements (Gesamtarbeitsverträge) on whole sectors of the economy. These go by the keyword Flankierende Massnahmen and were tremendously successful. In fact, after more than a decade of free movement Switzerland still has low unemployment and high wages (e. g. minimum wage in the retail sector is about 4000 Franks per month, with 5-6 weeks vacation).

Lately, the unions have called for even more protection. The SVP definitely opposes the very idea. They would rather close the borders to people and open them wide for capital and goods, while leaving workers to fend for themselves.

50

TM 06.30.16 at 12:34 pm

“there isn’t much ‘establishment’ to speak of in Switzerland”

You must be the expert. But it’s nice how you completely ignore what I actually said: the nativists are ardent free-marketeers and free traders, led by a billionaire, and oppose labor protection measures that protect the wages and labor conditions of the masses of workers. But yeah, as long as they oppose immigration, they are bona fide “anti-globalists”.

51

Layman 06.30.16 at 1:23 pm

“Well, as long as nativists (or any other -ists, for that matter) support their country’s sovereignty, they are anti-globalists. I think it’s clear.”

Thus pro-sovereignty capitalists who outsource manufacturing to other countries to reduce costs and increase profits – which is to say all of them! – are anti-globalists. Got it.

52

kidneystones 06.30.16 at 1:48 pm

Had to run the gauntlet of outraged Remain supporters at work this week. What a nightmare! I’m soft Remain and have no idea what the future holds, but the same gang of clowns who smugly predicted victory less than a week ago only to have their world up-ended are now explaining how most of Europe, the UK, and the world is going to react.

One day was enough. I went in early, hid before classes, and then took the elevator to top floor of a secluded building to enjoy my lunch and the view in peace. I was ambushed in the lounge by a genial superior who I like very much, but who insisted as a non-UK citizen and as an expert in education, all the reasons why the economy of Britain is about to collapse. When I got a word in I observed that he was making precisely the arguments that the Leave camp had already rejected and perhaps it might be a good idea to wait more than a week before the next round of predictions.

Did that stop him? Three guesses. I predict more of the same, only worse.

53

bruce wilder 06.30.16 at 2:10 pm

Switzerland is in a way in a similar situation as Britain.

You failed to say in what way their situations are similar.

Of course the Swiss would never want to adopt the Euro but again ironically they would be much better off if they did since the overvalued Franc is doing vicious damage to the export industry .

But, just to be clear, they have stayed out of the Euro. And, they abandoned their Euro peg.

54

engels 07.01.16 at 1:30 pm

I thought your argument was that it was one in the eye for Capital?

55

Barry 07.01.16 at 7:21 pm

kidneystones 06.30.16 at 1:48 pm
“Had to run the gauntlet of outraged Remain supporters at work this week. What a nightmare! ”

Awwwwwwwww. Next thing you’ll be uncertain of whether or not you have a job.

“I’m soft Remain and have no idea what the future holds, but the same gang of clowns who smugly predicted victory less than a week ago only to have their world up-ended are now explaining how most of Europe, the UK, and the world is going to react.”

You are confusing knowing how a vote will come out with knowing the likely consequences of a decision.

Or to save time, you are confused.

56

David Gress 07.02.16 at 4:04 pm

You will find extensive discussion of the questions of immigration, market access, and all else relevant to the UK/England’s choices before, during, and after Brexit at eureferendum.com. I am surprised no one seems to have mentioned this outstanding source.

57

engels 07.03.16 at 11:13 am

Britain’s FTSE index hits 10-mo high despite Brexit hysteria

Also you realise this is just another way of saying that the pound has collapsed?

58

kidneystones 07.03.16 at 11:33 am

@ 64 I am unclear about what the future holds in most respects. But some things don’t change. You, for example.

You make no effort at all to disguise your hostility towards me ever. Moreover, you’re frequently moved to announce your unhappiness with me to the world. What a way to show you care!

I’m equally confident that the same set of smug turds (feel free to include yourself, if it fits) are going to further alienate the very folks they purport to care most about – namely the downtrodden and drive them right into the arms of UKIP, or worse.

I find much to like in everyone I meet, including you!

59

Layman 07.03.16 at 12:30 pm

TM @ 53: “Negotiate with the EU an addendum to the agreements that would allow immigration restrictions – unlikely to be accepted by the EU”

In fact the Guardian is reporting today that with negotiation time running out, the Swiss will not get a deal which allows them to retain free market access without permitting free movement of people. The EU have taken a firm on this line throughout, and in the wake of the Brexit referendum are apparently intent on holding to it.

60

Layman 07.03.16 at 4:50 pm

@Ze K, when you don’t like a particular piece of information, attack the source.

Comments on this entry are closed.