Switzerland Recent History

Switzerland Recent History

Europe

The renunciation of Neuchâtel by the king of Prussia (1857) eliminated an anomalous and anachronistic situation from Switzerland. Maintaining neutrality during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71 and the two world wars (1914-18 and 1939-45) both on the Swiss side and on the part of the belligerents contributed to increasing the country’s wealth: neutrality well guarded by its rulers, so much so that the Switzerland’s entry into the League of Nations was accompanied by the declaration that it would not take part in sanctions against any state and in fact refrained from applying them to Italy during the Italo-Ethiopian conflict (1935-36). Neutrality however does not mean isolation; indeed Switzerland has become the seat of international organizations having humanitarian purposes (the Red Cross in Geneva since 1864) or of international utility (the Universal Postal Union in Bern since 1878, the League of Nations since 1920, the International Labor Organization since 1946, the International Health Organization since 1948, the International Telecommunications Union since 1949: all based in Geneva).

Continuing a tradition begun in the century. XIX it gave refuge to the political and racial persecuted, it welcomed the French troops sheltered on its territory in 1870-71 and the Italian ones persecuted after 8 September 1943. In this long period of peace, which the Swiss people do not intend to give up, the products of highly specialized and high value-added industries, tourism, the skill of its economic operators have made Switzerland a first-rate financial power and the Swiss franc one of the most appreciated and most stable currencies in the world. Precisely the projects to deepen European integration on the economic level, IMF and the World Bank (May 1991), the government even submitted a formal application for Switzerland to join the European Community (May 1992). This policy, supported by the main economic actors, was however disavowed by the referendum of 6 December 1992 which rejected the ratification of the Port Agreement on the establishing of the European Economic Area (EEA), the free trade area that associates the countries of EFTA and those of the EEC.

In June 1994, according to usprivateschoolsfinder, a referendum confirmed the traditional neutralist vocation of the Swiss who denied the assignment to the UN of a body of 600 volunteers, while, in December of the same year, another referendum approved a very strict law on immigration control. During 1995, Swiss citizens spoke out, again through referendums, against some proposals of the government coalition aimed at greater integration of the country with the European community. The elections for the renewal of the Federal Assembly, held in October 1995, reconfirmed the majority of the centrist coalition (Socialists, Radicals, Christian Democrats and Center Democrats) in power for over 35 years; in December the Assembly elected Jean-Pascal Delamuraz to the presidency of the Federal Council for the year 1996. In 1999, for the first time in the history of Switzerland and almost 30 years after universal suffrage, a woman, the Socialist Minister of the Interior Ruth Dreifuss, was elected as President of the Federal Council. Despite the success, in the 1999 elections, of the Democratic Union of the Center (the populist, xenophobic and anti-European movement led by  Cristoph Blocher), the political situation remained stable. The government was committed to managing the positions acquired in economics and diplomatic and commercial relations with major international partners in a balanced way. In March 2002, thanks to the positive outcome of a specially called referendum, Switzerland was able to submit its application for membership of the UN. Entry into the United Nations was made official in September of the same year: the country’s traditional political isolation was thus significantly attenuated.

In the legislative elections of 2003, the Democratic Union of the Center (UDC) won, which became the first party, followed by the Social Democratic Party; consequently its leader, Cristoph Blocher, along with another member of the party, entered the government, thus breaking the traditional equilibrium on the basis of which previous governments were formed. In September 2004 the Swiss people and cantons rejected, by referendum, the proposal of the government and the parliamentary majority to facilitate the right to Swiss citizenship for second generation young people, that is the children of immigrants, and automatic acquisition of Swiss citizenship for the third generation. At the beginning of 2005 Samuel Schmid became the new president. Also in 2005, in three different referendums, the population approved homosexual unions and joining the Schengen area. Also in 2005, the Swiss extended the agreements signed at the time, with the 15 countries of the European Union, to the 10 new countries that joined this organization in 2004. In September 2006, again through a referendum, the country approved two new laws that they tightened the rules on the right of asylum and immigration. In October 2007 the elections for the Federal Assembly took place in which the UDC prevailed. Later, based on an agreement between the left and the UDC, Eveline Wildmer-Schlumpf was appointed premier, while in 2011 the elections for the renewal of the National Council were held, won by the UDC with 27% of the votes, followed by the Socialist party (18.9 %). In 2014 Didier Burkhalter became the new president of the Confederation.

Switzerland Recent History