Tag Archives: Switzerland

Switzerland (2)

First the meeting with the SVP politicians on Thursday went well despite the language problems (even with a translator present) and I will report further on this on my return to the UK.

In the meantime more on the holiday aspect of the trip. Yesterday Helen and I took a four and a half hour boat trip to Interlaken West on the Thunersee (Lake Thun) on the Berner Oberland and enjoyed a superb lunch – accompanied with the obligatory glass or two of wine.

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The boats that do this trip stop at various points on both sides of the lake for those wishing to get on or off. One of the boats that do this trip is an old, presumably converted, paddle boat:

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As might be expected the views from the water are stunning along with the architecture, an example of which is Schloss Schadau located in Thun on the edge of the lake:imageWhen we arrived back in Thun, on disembarking we saw this coach (complete with folding canvas sunroof – anyone remember them?) waiting for a group who had been on the boat:

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Today we visited Schloss Schadau which is situated in a most beautiful English style park and contains many floral beds like this:

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A popular sport in Switzerland would appear to be hang- gliding/para- gliding and when conditions are conducive we have seen about six such launching themselves off the top of this nearby mountain (Niesin) of an evening, which is  2,362 metres in height – there is a cable car, needless to say:

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A few other immediate observations about this beautiful country: as we know it is clean, rubbish bins are ‘in abundance’ which include ashtrays and those smoking will carry their cigarette ends to the next bin rather than just toss them in the road or on the pavement; we have not seen one obese child ( they either walk or cycle to school); and graffiti is virtually non- existent (and what there is seems to get cleaned off within 24/28 hours). The other notable facts are that we have only seen three Muslims (heads covered but no facial covering; and two of dark- skinned descent (although to be fair we have not visited the likes of Basle, Geneva, etc. Every one is polite and this weekend it is obvious that leisure time is a family event.

Enough for now – more to follow before we leave Tuesday at ‘crack of sparrow’.

 

All mouth and no trousers?

Readers will recall that on 9th February 2014 the people of Switzerland, exercising their right via a referendum, voted albeit narrowly to curb immigration.

From Swissinfo we learn: The Swiss cabinet has announced it wants to limit immigration from the European Union with a safeguard clause as part of its efforts to implement an initiative approved by voters in February 2014. In the event that it is unable to reach agreement with the EU, the cabinet has instructed the justice ministry to draft a dispatch on a unilateral safeguard clause which will take effect if immigration reaches a certain threshold. This dispatch should be ready by the beginning of March 2016.

Readers wil also recall that Switzerand’s bi-lateral accords contains a guillotine clause which states that if one agreement ‘falls’, then they all ‘fall’; with the EU warning such, threatening to use said clause if Bern voids the free movement accord, impacting agreements covering trade and economic ties, market access, and agricultural produce and several others.

What is interesting is a report in Russia Today which quotes Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter: If there is really no solution, we would be ready for a suspension of a part or all of the bilateral agreements.

What is a tad ironic is that while the European Union is content to remind Switzerland that the principle of free movement of people is inviolable currently they are considering longer term border checks by means of invoking Article 26 of the Schengen Agreement (source).

One to watch, methinks.

AfterthoughtL In respect of the heading to this article, I would like to think that the Swiss possess both mouth and trousers.