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Study shows Swiss youths more conservative than their parents

Swiss youths are reluctant to support Swiss membership of the EU or UN Keystone

A government-sponsored survey of 20,000 Swiss military recruits shows that the majority of young Swiss hold conservative views on many key issues including immigration and membership of the European Union.

This content was published on December 31, 2000 - 12:21

Results from the two-year study reveal that Swiss people in their 20s are worried about too many foreigners in Switzerland and would like to see the government put domestic Swiss interests above international engagement.

The survey, conducted on behalf of the federal government by the Zurich-based institute, Cultur Prospect, shows that the majority of youths believe that immigration-related tension and violence is a growing problem and that foreigners should try harder to integrate into Swiss culture.

Today's young generation is also more reluctant than their parents, or even grandparents, to support Swiss membership to the European Union or the United Nations.

While 55 per cent of young people do support joining the EU, their parents (66 per cent) and grandparents (62 per cent) are much more in favour of the idea.

The survey also shows that today's 20-something generation take a conservative stance when it comes to Switzerland's role in Europe. According to the figures, 54 per cent of Swiss young people favour the idea of a cautious Switzerland, going it alone on the European stage, rather than an open and integrated nation.

In contrast, out of the 660 parents and grandparents who were surveyed, 59 per cent of the recruits' parents, and 68 per cent of their grandparents, would like to see Switzerland become more open.

Members of each generation surveyed said they were afraid of becoming isolated if Switzerland does not join the EU.

A large majority of the young people said they would also like to see the government continue to play an important role in family welfare and social issues.

swissinfo with agencies

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