The Swiss People’s Party (SVP) is reportedly planning to hold a referendum with the working title “initiative for sustainability” to limit Switzerland’s population to 10 million through stricter immigration controls, according to a report from Remix News.
The party, known for its agrarian roots and opposition to mass immigration, is considering renegotiating or even abandoning international treaties if the population reaches this number.
Switzerland is facing environmental problems, a housing crisis, and strains on public resources due to high immigration levels.
According to SVP campaign manager Marcel Dettling, “our country is cracking in every corner…if we don’t intervene, we will be overtaken by events.”
Dettling also points to the high rates of economic migration, particularly from groups with a history of difficulty integrating into Swiss society, as evidenced by the country’s prison population data.
“Today, there is very strong economic migration,” says Dettling. “Whoever has set foot in Switzerland will never leave the country. Migrants from Africa have welfare rates of 34 percent.”
SVP National Councilor Thomas Matter warns that Switzerland’s population is rapidly increasing, with 200,000 more inhabitants expected in 2022 alone, the equivalent of the population of the canton of Basel City.
Over the past 20 years, the country’s population has grown by 21%.
Matter believes that if this growth continues, “everything will collapse,” as resources for education, health, and transport are exhausted. He advocates for a shift from a model of quantitative growth to one of qualitative growth.
The proposed referendum would limit the population to 10 million until 2050, with the possibility of slight increases after that date due to natural population growth.
If certain population thresholds are reached, the government would be required to take action to inhibit further growth.
For example, if the population reaches 9.5 million, the Swiss Federal Council would have to pass new laws.
If the population reaches 10 million, the government would need to take “rigorous measures,” potentially including the abandonment of international agreements such as the UN migration pacts or EU treaties on free movement.
Switzerland has held several referendums on immigration in the past, including the 2014 “against mass immigration” referendum, which passed with 50.3% of the vote.
The SVP-backed referendum aimed to impose quotas on immigration, but despite the vote, the referendum was largely neutered by the Swiss parliament.
It is not clear if the latest proposed referendum will face a similar fate or if it will be successful in limiting immigration and population growth.
Remix News gives political background context:
The current Western model promotes the idea of endless GDP growth through mass immigration. More immigrants equal more consumers, more housing construction springing up across the countryside, and more Third World peoples adopting a First World lifestyle. Left-liberal and Green parties across the Western world have simultaneously called for Europeans to have fewer children to save the environment, while promoting mass immigration from Middle Eastern, African, and Asian countries, with these newcomers known for their notoriously high birth rates. At the same time, countries like Switzerland, Germany, and the United Kingdom are breaking population records due to immigration, leading to a severe strain on the environment and social welfare models within these European nations — a development that has been rejected by only a handful of nations such as Denmark and Hungary. The right, if it wants to survive, may have to tie environmental causes and climate change, which the youth of Europe overwhelmingly believe is occurring, to soaring population growth through immigration. The Swiss referendum may be a nod to a growing reality. Any referendum that calls for immigration restriction is likely to fail given the growing pro-migration youth vote, but if it can be tied to green causes, such a referendum may have a chance.