Switzerland raises barriers as Portuguese community swells

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 01-05-2013 16:31:00 · 7 Comments

Switzerland’s federal government has decided to extend existing restrictions to the entry of immigrants from Eastern Europe to citizens of all European Union member states, as it opted to maintain them for another year.

The country is thus activating a guarantee clause foreseen in the accord on freedom of movement it signed with the EU in 2002.
The clause permits Switzerland to unilaterally set maximum quotas for short- and long-term residence permits.
The move is likely to affect thousands of Portuguese citizens planning to emigrate to Switzerland to join the almost a quarter of a million already there.

Carlos Gonçalves, one of two members of Portugal’s parliament elected by Portuguese emigrants in Europe, said he could understand how some members of the community in Switzerland might feel “some injustice” at the move, and that Portuguese citizens living in the country “certainly did not contribute” to the government’s reasons for taking the decision.
“It is an exemplary community and this is not what the Portuguese say, but the Swiss themselves,” Gonçalves told Lusa News Agency after it informed him of the government’s decision. Recalling that there had been “several threats” of a move of this kind, affecting all EU citizens, he said he did not agree with but respected the decision.
In the first 11 months of last year alone, more than 12,960 Portuguese migrated to Switzerland, according to the country’s federal immigration agency. The Portuguese community in the country is estimated at some 240,000 people.
Hundreds of thousands of Portuguese, many of them highly qualified youngsters, have been leaving their homeland over the past couple of years, as the economy has stagnated and unemployment soared.


You Go Mattus!
You should not however lower your intellectual standards by responding to that hopeless self labelled alleged Millionaire Ex-Pat P.T. guy in the U.S. Someone as rude and ignorant as that does not deserve the time of day. In any case, the points you make here are thought provoking indeed. I get you and from where you are coming from and I have to agree on many excellent points you make. The Swiss National Tourist board should hire you!
by Gregoire from Lisbon on 08-05-2013 03:57:00
Mr. Paul Silva,

or should I say mr. multimillionaire? I didn't realize that being a multimillionaire automatically makes your points more valid than those of us who are not.

I'm not really sure what Switzerland's economy has to do with any of my points, I'm sure with your riches you don't have to think too hard when you can hire other people to do the thinking for you. Calling me pompous just because I tell it like it is, well that's pretty funny coming from a person who boasts about his riches in a discussion area, perhaps you can use some of your millions to learn the meaning of some of the words you use.

Now, if you had read or understood anything that I wrote, you would have realized that I am defending the Portuguese. I am defending the Portuguese right to their own sovereignty, the right to control their border, the right to demand that their leaders stop playing games with the economy and their future. But, unfortunately, this is lost on a multimillionaire who clearly has more money than brains.
by Mattus from Other on 08-05-2013 03:03:00
Mr. Mattus makes some interesting points, but forgot to mention that Switzerland's main economy is banking or is it "secret swiss bank accounts" for tax cheats and criminals hiding their money from legitimacy. hardly a noble existence. why is a pompous self absorbed individual frequenting this site anyway? for all the lack of monetary wealth we lack as Portuguese, we are rich beyond reach for soulless individuals like Mr. Mattus. you will never be happy and fulfilled thinking you are better than others. and by the way I am a Portuguese multimilllionare who thinks people like your are shit. good day.
by paul silva from USA on 08-05-2013 03:46:00

So the Swiss are an inward and regressive society "based on xenophobia and prejudice"? That's very convenient, slagging a nation that insists on following its own path by enforcing its immigration policies. It is every nation's right to moderate immigration, calling them racist for doing so is a sign of pettiness and ignorance.

As for Portugal being a country of progressiveness, well that depends on how the concept of progress is gauged. The progressive Portuguese system routinely subjects the working poor and elderly to conditions of misery and hopelessness. The standard of living persistently decreases year by year, while crime and disillusionment skyrockets. Entire communities in Portugal live below the poverty line, many without proper shelter or food. This progressive society as you call it, has created a generation of women who routinely put their children up for adoption, or turn to prostitution to make ends meet. This progressive Portuguese society, has seen consistent rise in violent crime, including murder, bank robberies, assaults, vandalism and petty theft. 15% of all jailed criminals are foreign born, even though foreigners make up 10% of the population.

If Switzerland was such a bad place, then why do educated Portuguese routinely run to Switzerland and not the other way around? Did they not get the memo on how intolerant the Swiss are? Imagine that, a progressive group of people fleeing to a regressive one, this could only make sense to the terminally insane. But perhaps its because the idea of social acquiescence isn't in their best interest regardless of what many socialist minded persons might think.

Those who insist on maintaining a policy of "openness" have the luxury of hiding behind the sands of time. It's easy to shrug one's shoulders when the social experiment fails, but unlike the Portuguese, at least the Swiss have clued in to this fact. Time will tell whether or not they will come out ahead, methinks they will, while I'm sure that the so-called progressive Portuguese will be deeper in the pit that their socialist leaders built for them.
by Mattus from Other on 06-05-2013 06:56:00
Mr Mattus is correct 100%, the brain drain out of Portugal is accelerating at an alarming rate and it's sad that the youth are leaving in droves, it has changed the landscape dramatically because there is an age gap missing in this society that will cause an imbalance for years to come, in our town i have seen more and more poor people walking around that have no work and are just hanging in by the skin on their teeth,, what will happen when the money runs out, more crime i think.
by Mr John from Algarve on 06-05-2013 03:06:00
This so called " Swiss Book" is based on xenophobia and prejudice. This is one nation that has a long history of exclusion on all levels. The Portuguese and it's people however are progressive outward looking and not afraid to make change happen for themselves and their culture.
by Gregoire from Lisbon on 04-05-2013 07:18:00
Kudos for Switzerland, I only wish the Portuguese were more in tune with their northern cousins. Unlike Switzerland, Portugal lets just about anyone and everyone in. Many of the immigrants in Portugal are low skilled, low literacy and end up in poor communities, bordering on third world dimensions leading to social inequities, increased crime rate and slums. It's time for Portugal to take a page from the Swiss book.
by Mattus from Other on 03-05-2013 12:54:00
Interactive Topics, send us your comments/opinion on this article.

Please note that The Portugal News may use selected comments in the printed edition of the newspaper.