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Editorial on the votes

Should Switzerland limit the number of foreigners in the country to 18 per cent of the population? Does the country really want to anchor the issue of immigration in the constitution?

This content was published on September 6, 2000 - 16:32

The people's initiative calling for controls on immigration has prompted heated debate. The exasperation that many people, particularly women, feel about illegal immigration and abuses of the asylum law is now expressing itself as xenophobia.

But a quota system won't solve the problem. Moreover, Switzerland, with its humanitarian tradition, stands to lose a great deal.

If voters accepted the initiative, the country would suffer considerable damage to its image abroad. A "yes" vote would lead to problems with the European Union and would hamper the chances of Swiss wanting to emigrate.

The three energy issues, which aim to promote a sustainable environmental policy through incentive taxes, are attracting less attention.

The acceptance of the solar initiative would have international impact. The initiative calls for a tax on the use of non-renewable energy resources over a period of 25 years, with the money going to the promotion of solar energy.

The acceptance of the initiative would be a sign that Switzerland prefers environmentally friendly solar energy over nuclear energy. But will voters take that step?

by Peter Salvisberg, Editor-in-chief

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