Shares

The German-language Swiss Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF) broadcasting company published an interview on 13 November. In it, Lukas Golder of the social research institute gfs.bern is asked about Swiss identity. The conclusion is that there is practically no ‘European’ feeling in Switzerland.

Fritz Reimann, for SRF News: “Are the Swiss becoming more and more patriotic?

Lukas Golder:

Yes, we are observing a real ‘Swissness’-trend. The pride of the country increases. Even the identification as a citizen of Switzerland increases. That’s a new phenomenon. Above all, the municipality loses its power to bind people to it, while we do not observe a European identity anywhere.

He was further asked: “Why do the Swiss feel more and more Swiss?”

Golder:

“Ultimately, one can say that globalisation has changed Swiss self-understanding.

These new structures with supranational organisations like the EU are always in crisis.The changes in the last decades have also caused large migration movements, which lead people to concentrate on who they are themselves.

And people here noticed, that Switzerland very often was very successful and could avoid these crises. It was never that affected, offering an independent set of success factors, political as well as economic. We can absorb crises and we can be economically successful, even in times of crises.”

The interviewer continues: “There is practically no European feeling. Why is that?

Golder:

‘Europe’ is a symbol for these supranational organisations with their huge challenges. Even in the last twelve months, in which the EU managed to make important strides forward economically, people in Switzerland still believe that the EU is not doing that well. There are huge challenges, the EU is faced by crises all the time, with Greece and its currency.

The feeling here is, that the independent road, the neutrale road is the successful way to go and that the EU in its present form is no solution for Switzerland.

As a closing question, he was asked: “Which consequences has this negative feeling about Europe for Switzerland’s foreign policy?

Golder:

The Swiss want a pragmatic-economic approach. That means: the benefits for the Swiss must be in the foreground. Therefore, the feeling is that a bilateral approach is the correct compromise. In the context of the discussion on the mass-immigration-initiative, the very clear preference was that somehow go the bilateral way. As it was before, the bilateral approach is the most wanted approach. Just not as popular as a year ago.