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Thursday, April 26, 2012 2:35 AM

Swiss Politician Says "Too Many Germans in Switzerland", Seeks Stronger Immigration Controls; Word of the Day: "Backlash"

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The European recession is starting to take its toll. Voters everywhere are fed up with austerity, fed up with high unemployment, fed up with immigration, and fed up with politicians currently in power.

On May 6, voter backlash will cost French President Nicolas Sarkozy his job.

Hollande Sustains Lead Over Sarkozy In Presidential Race-Poll

Francois Hollande, the socialist candidate in French elections, is maintaining his lead over incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy with 12 days to go to the runoff for the French presidency, a poll showed Tuesday.

Hollande will take 54% of the vote in the second round and Sarkozy 46%, according to the poll of 1,145 people on the electoral register conducted by Opinionway Monday and Tuesday. The result of the Opinionway poll was unchanged from the previous comparable poll Sunday, when the French chose between 10 candidates in the first round.

The Opinionway poll shows 47% of Le Pen voters would switch to Sarkozy and 27% would go for Hollande in the runoff, with 26% abstaining from voting.

The poll also shows 41% of those who voted for centrist candidate Francois Bayrou--who took 9.13% of the vote in the first round--plan to vote for Sarkozy and 36% for Hollande.

However, Hollande benefits from a clear transfer of votes from far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who took 11.1% of the first-round vote and has called for his supporters to vote for Hollande. Hollande would take 91% of Melenchon's voters and Sarkozy only 2%, according to the Opinionway poll.
Voters are so disgusted with Sarkozy that less than half of of those voting for extreme-right candidate Marine Le Pen plan on voting for center-right president Sarkozy. 53% will abstain or vote for the Socialist Hollande.

Backlash Against Eurozone Austerity

The Financial Times discusses Backlash Against Eurozone Austerity
A political backlash against fiscal austerity left mainstream French and Dutch politicians struggling on Monday to shore up support as a key economic indicator highlighted the eurozone’s slide into deeper recession.

In the Netherlands, one of the eurozone’s most fiscally disciplinarian governments collapsed as Mark Rutte, prime minister, tendered his government’s resignation at a meeting with Queen Beatrix, clearing the way for elections. In France, the Socialist Mr Hollande’s first-round victory was accompanied by a surge in support for the far-right National Front.
Backlash Against Germans

Der Spiegel Online reports Politician Sparks Uproar with Call to Limit German Workers
A Swiss politician has prompted a heated debate after suggesting that there are too many German immigrants in her country. "We really have too many Germans in the country," Natalie Rickli, a member of Switzerland's parliament with the right-wing populist Swiss People's Party (SVP), said during a television talk show on Sunday.

The actual topic of discussion on the talk show, broadcast on Zürich local television station TeleZüri, was supposed to be Switzerland's decision last week to curb immigration from eight central and eastern European countries. Last Wednesday, the Swiss cabinet, the Federal Council, announced it had decided to invoke the so-called "safeguard clause" in its agreement with the European Union on the free movement of persons. The move will significantly reduce the number of jobseekers from these countries allowed to enter Switzerland for a one-year period.

But that initiative apparently does not go far enough for Rickli. On the talk show, she argued that the safeguard clause should also apply to Germans. Many people shared her view that there were "too many Germans" in Switzerland, she said.

The other guests on the show reacted with shock, but Rickli kept going. "The parliament should have already activated the safeguard clause in 2009, when it would have also affected the Germans," she said, adding that Switzerland had a problem with the sheer scale of immigration. She said that she had already received a lot of mail from Swiss people saying that they had lost their jobs because cheaper Germans had been hired instead.

Rickli's comments reflect her SVP party's anti-EU and anti-immigration policies.

The verbal attack comes at a time of mutual tensions between Germany and Switzerland over a controversial bilateral tax treaty which is aimed at cracking down on wealthy Germans who commit tax evasion by stashing their money in Swiss banks.
Bear in mind the Swiss People's Party (SVP) is not a small fringe party. It is the leading political party in Switzerland for 32 years with about 25% of the vote in the last election.

So, not only is there a call to limit immigration from eastern European countries, the leading party in Switzerland is fed up with Germans willing to work in Switzerland for cheaper prices than the Swiss.

Wasn't one of the reasons behind the creation of the Eurozone to allow freedom of movement as a way to encourage growth?

Indeed it was. Switzerland is not in the Eurozone, but this really takes the cake.

Breakin' Up is Hard to Do

Note the increasing trade disputes between France and Spain, Between Southern Europe and Eastern Europe, between Northern Europe and Eastern Europe, between Northern Europe and Southern Europe, and now between Switzerland and Germany.

Also note that France and Southern Europe want Eurobonds. Northern Europe does not. Somehow there is supposed to be a fiscal union complete with numerous trade barriers and immigration controls on top of eurobond disputes and nannyzone bickering that will not be resolved soon.

Indeed, the only way eurobonds are likely to happen at all is if Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, and Austria get fed up enough with France and the Club Med countries and exit the treaty.

An extremely painful breakup is coming, but the sooner it happens, the better off Europe will be.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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