Switzerland will remain part of Schengen, as Swiss voters support increased Frontex funding

71.5% of Swiss voters showed their support for increasing Switzerland’s financial contribution to the European Union Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) in a referendum held in the country on Sunday May 15.

The referendum was called after more than 62,000 signatures were collected by Swiss parties and NGOs, more than enough for the Swiss authorities to call a referendum, in a bid to prevent the increase from Switzerland’s contribution to Frontex of 24 million francs in 2021 to 61 francs. million in 2027.

According to parties and NGOs, Switzerland should not increase the financial contribution to Frontex as the agency has often been accused of undermining the human rights of migrants reach the external borders of the EU.

The referendum results were applauded by many, including EU Vice-President and Commissioner for Promoting Our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, who, among other things, stressed the importance of Schengen, calling it the “jewel in the crown”.

Today’s Swiss vote reaffirms the importance Switzerland attaches to both the role of Frontex and the benefits of free movement and border management. Schengen remains our crown jewel, it has emerged from the pandemic more resilient and is helping us to welcome Ukrainianstweeted Commissioner Schinas immediately after the publication of the referendum results.

Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer also welcomed the outcome of the referendum, insisting that the Swiss authorities would commit to ensuring that Frontex staff respect basic human rights.

It is obvious that improvements are needed, and more transparency in particular“, he declared during a press conference after the revelation of the results of the referendum.

He also pointed out that the results were good news for the Swiss tourism sector, as a “no” vote would have put the country’s participation in the Schengen area at risk, which would cost Switzerland the loss of millions of tourists every year. year.

However, not everyone was happy with the May 15 result. One of the activists against the Swiss contribution to Frontex, Sophie Guignard, said that the country would now have a hand in the human rights violations committed by Frontex.

Switzerland will be complicit in the death and violence against tens of thousands of people“, said Guignard.

The two other referendums held on the same day were also supported by Swiss voters. The referendum on organ donation received the support of 60.2% of voters, while the referendum on the reform of the “Netflix law” received the support of 58.4% of voters.

About 5.5 million Swiss nationals were eligible to participate in the referendum. However, the participation rate was 40.3%.

>> Swiss authorities: a “no” in the May referendum would jeopardize Switzerland’s participation in the Schengen area

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