chapter  5
18 Pages

Populism in Switzerland and the EU: From vox populi to vox mediae


There was considerable surprise in the European press about the results of the votation on 5 June 2005. How could it be that this small alpine nation, which for decades had rejected even the most tentative thoughts of joining the European Union, had voted “Ja, Oui and Si”, in favour of a closer bilateral agreement with the EU?1 And this only a few days after two founder states of the EU, France and the Netherlands, had voted down the proposal for a European constitution. Equally it was at a time when all the trends seem to have been running against such an open-minded view. Once again Switzerland had shown itself to be a country where, as far as political issues about the EU are concerned, the exception often turns out to be the rule.