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Cuckoo Land
June 5, 2005 10:46 AM   Subscribe

Switzerland Votes for Closer EU Integration What with all the play that the narrow French rejection of the proposed EU Constitution enjoyed, I doubt that Switzerland's successful referendum accepting endorsement of closer EU integration (specifically, enacting the Dublin Convention on shared security and policing) and gay marriage recognition will get much coverage. It just doesn't easily fit into the narrative of an unravelling Europe, one which Swiss voters seem to have rejected despite strong internal debate.
posted by meehawl (13 comments total)

 
Are countries allowed to pick and choose what parts they want integrated? Why does Switzerland get to? And they're still not monetarily integrated, right? Nor are they signing the Constitution?
posted by amberglow at 11:09 AM on June 5, 2005


The first linky goes to the wiki article on the Swiss vote. I wouldn't read too much into this since Switzerland isn't in the EU.

It is agreeing to the Schengen accord which makes moving around Europe easier for its citizens to do and passport free for the EU citizenry to enter.

In essence it seems that this is similar to the deal the US has with Canada which allows its citizens to travel freely (but that is being closed down in the interest of keeping pesky Canadian terrorists out).

And like the rest of the European countries, public opinion on EU constitution and full membership in the EU is split.
posted by birdherder at 11:14 AM on June 5, 2005


Are countries allowed to pick and choose what parts they want integrated?

Pretty much, yes. Many EU countries are not fully monetarily integrated. Both Norway and Switzerland are not in the EU proper but are integrated to it by various agreements.
posted by lazy-ville at 11:30 AM on June 5, 2005


Are countries allowed to pick and choose what parts they want integrated?

As I've pointed out before, the "EU" is like a hydra, with many different bureaucratic tentacles reaching out to envelope neighbouring countries and economies like a tide made of jam. Switzerland is a member of EFTA, which is a kind of "EU Lite". It is the only EFTA member not in the EEA. The old standard course to full EU integration was EFTA->EEA->EU, but it seems as if at least one or two more "tracks" will be created because of recent developments.

The Swiss joining Schengen is arguably more far-reaching than the hullabaloo over the Constitution. Schengen is tighter and more focussed on the exercise of power, and a concomitant surrender of border sovereignty into shared police and surveillance structures. Notably the UK and Ireland have not so far fully joined the Schengen group.
posted by meehawl at 11:34 AM on June 5, 2005


the narrow French rejection of the proposed EU Constitution

The New york Times, I believe, used the word "overwhelming." I guess that's a matter of interpretation.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:23 PM on June 5, 2005


The New york Times, I believe, used the word "overwhelming." I guess that's a matter of interpretation.

I noted the use of superlative adjectives in the anti-Euro camp myself. Given a percentage split of 55/45 no/yes, their definition of the term "overwhelming" probably differs from mine. I gather that the US president considers 51/49 a mandate, so what do I know.

You know, back in 1992 the Maastricht Treaty was carried in France by a scant 2%, so these things come and go based on a swing of 5% or so...
posted by meehawl at 1:06 PM on June 5, 2005


I don't know about overwhelming, but I've never heard of a 10 percent margin being described as "narrow".
posted by unreason at 1:52 PM on June 5, 2005


Okay, let me provide the compromise: 55/45 was not "narrow" or "overwhelming", but it was "substantial".

Can we agree on that, spinmonsters?
posted by wendell at 1:57 PM on June 5, 2005


This is encouraging. I've always thought that we should be doing more to attract wealthier countries into the EU. Next stop Canada, obviously! FWIW I still think it'll be a long time before the Swiss adopt full membership; they're probably still too attached to neutrality (remember they only joined the UN, what, ten years ago?)
The concept of "multi-speed" European integration is the only show in town these days. In practical terms Switzerland joining Schengen should be enough for even the most devoted europhile.
posted by Celery at 2:58 PM on June 5, 2005


One person's narrow is another person's substantial.

When I look at a this simple binary result, if one person in 20 had changed their vote then it would have gone the other way. To me, that's narrow. That's 55/45. That's pretty easy to swing. I've seen it happen before in Euro referendums.

When you get into one person in 10 changing their vote to change the result, then that's comfortable. 60/40.

When you get to one person in 5 changing to make a difference, then that's "substantial". That's 70/30.

I personally reserve the word "overwhelming" for 3:1 and above. But YMMV.
posted by meehawl at 3:03 PM on June 5, 2005


It just doesn't easily fit into the narrative of an unravelling Europe...

And I thought it was only the neocons who fantasized about being persecuted by the press!

Also, a 10-percentage point victory is anything but narrow. No Presidential candidate has managed it since Reagan handed Mondale his own ass in 84 (winning by a whopping 18%).
posted by clevershark at 8:24 PM on June 5, 2005


a 10-percentage point victory is anything but narrow.

So your main contribution is to argue semantics over point ranges? In the past I have looked at USian elections and been surprised at how little variation there is over the years in winning margins for federal elections. I suspect this is more an artifact of voter apathy and lack of real choice because of the constrained binary system. Obviously, this lack of a real dynamic has coloured your perception of the kind of margin swing that other national elections can undergo. Take a look at the French presidential elections, for example, if you want to see dramatic examples of rapid, massive swings in the second-round of voting.
posted by meehawl at 12:37 PM on June 6, 2005


By the way, you say tomayto, I say tomahto.
posted by meehawl at 12:39 PM on June 6, 2005


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