Swiss immigration restricted so enlarge Switzerland

Earlier this year, in a referendum, Swiss citizens obliged their government to tighten restrictions on immigration from the EU. For a few days the French press was up in arms.

There is another way for those who would like to live and work in Switzerland. Conduct a referendum where they live and apply to join the Swiss Confederation. This is how the country grew from its original three cantons. (Every December Geneva celebrates Les Escalades, their repelling attempts by the French to regain the city-state.)

Look at a map of western Europe and you will see this island of democracy at its heart. Switzerland once feared being dismembered and absorbed by its French, Italian and German-speaking neighbours. Now the reverse could happen.

Rumour has it that Haute Savoie, the French department south of Lake Geneva, has a cantonal government in exile in Geneva awaiting the right moment to apply to become the twenty-seventh Swiss canton. Perhaps, one day soon.

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