Switzerland’s slippery slope for refugees

immig imageAs a foreigner living in Switzerland I’m only too well aware about concern over the number of foreigners moving to Switzerland.

In this central European country of about 8.2 million people, just under 2 million (1.99 million, in fact) of inhabitants are foreigners, 68% of them from the EU/EFTA. Continue reading

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Switzerland’s immigration worries

Last year in Geneva I was approached by a political activitist and asked to put my name to a petition. I politely declined – and my reply elicited a shocking response.

I should explain, Swiss democracy works in a quirky way. Initiatives that attract more than 100,000 signatures (all are checked to ensure they’re bona fide Swiss voters) can be used to demand an amendment to the Federal Constitution. Continue reading

Compulsion sometimes the best medicine

Politicians in Britain believe taking radical steps to deal with the pension shortfall would be electoral suicide. The idea people should take personal responsibility for their retirement income even seems unreasonable to some. But is it? It’s been done elsewhere. 

Another day and another survey claiming people don’t want to retire at 60 or 65 because they ‘don’t feel ready to stop working yet’ or have a ‘fresh attitude towards retirement’.

This kind of research is inherently suspect. Continue reading

Canoeing in Switzerland

Canoeing in Switzerland

Switzerland may be landlocked but it boasts some of the most varied canoeing in Europe – mountain-fed rapids, big lakes, wide flat rivers and relatively quick access to a host of canoeing venues in France, Germany, Italy and beyond.

I came to Geneva in 2009 and joined the local club, which is based on the Rhone. I was initially disappointed not to be canoeing on Lake Geneva, or Lac Leman as it’s known to the locals, which is the largest fresh water lake in Europe. But that disappointment was tempered by the knowledge that the high level of boat traffic and the frequent and strong regional wind, La Bise, combine to leave the water unpaddleable for all but the most hardy (and stable) canoeist. Continue reading