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Views from the people


How Switzerland reacted to Brexit on social media







Users of social media often find a disconnect between opinion among their online friends and the wider public (Rob Stothard/Pool via AP)

Users of social media often find a disconnect between opinion among their online friends and the wider public

(Rob Stothard/Pool via AP)

In Switzerland, both Swiss and expats on social media have been processing the results. Switzerland was regularly cited by members of the ‘leave’ campaign as a potential role model for Britain, in terms of its bilateral relationship with the EU.

On Friday morning we asked our twitter followers if they thought the Swiss model was applicable.

A visible sentiment among British expats tweeting in Switzerland is a sense of growing distance between their point of view and the prevalent feeling back home.

While others in Switzerland looked on in interest.

“My British roommate is speechless this morning.”

“Am I the only one who’s not surprised by this result?”

“Bye and thank you for coming by (… it was worth blocking all of the EU’s political reforms for 40 years).”


On Friday morning we also asked our English-speaking Facebook fans, of many nationalities, if they thought the UK could successfully emulate Switzerland.

“Decisions that are influenced by scaremongering (both sides) are never good decisions. As a Swiss living here in the UK for 13 years I have often heard them talk about [how] we will take Switzerland as an example. Public transport, apprenticeships, recycling and now EU. And I then wonder where in Switzerland they were looking for inspiration. Not the Switzerland I know.” - Annie.

"In the UK, nothing quite comes close to the Direct Democracy that Switzerland enjoys"

“It's a bad day for Britain. Hopefully things won't go the way of Switzerland or soon food and housing prices will soar.” - Judi.

“Switzerland voted against the EEA and the EU on both counts (1992, 2001). It was never part of the Berlaymont 'scheme' so to speak in the first place. Also in the UK, nothing quite comes close to the Direct Democracy that Switzerland enjoys.” - David.

“The Brits need to make some free trade and movement deals double quick.” - Andy.

“Switzerland is bordered by Austria, France, Germany and Italy. Produces a far more superior product than UK, can compete with Germany in engineering and science. Italy, France and Switzerland dominate the luxury goods trade around the world. So for UK to go for a Swiss model I will see pigs fly.” – Brian.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom.

“Switzerland is Switzerland, and has nothing to do with UK or European Union….but I am happy that the UK understood ‘better alone than in bad company’.” - Tiziana.

“The Swiss way of bilateral agreements will be a model for UK.” - Tavazza.

“Other countries will follow the UK, leaving the ‘sinking ship’.” - Dögei.

“Freedom begins. The first baby steps to a very old system, older than the EU itself, a brave but much needed step. With regard to Switzerland I think there will be an alliance of some sort that will start with UK, and as the other countries leave, and they will!!” - Niya.

You can contact the author of this article on twitter @jofahy or on Facebook.

Do you think Britain can use Switzerland's relationship with the EU as a model? Tell us where you stand, in the comments below.

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