Switzerland. According to
countryaah, the right-wing populist Swiss People's Party
(SVP) suffered a setback when 59% of voters in a referendum
voted down a proposal for automatic expulsion of foreigners
who also committed minor crimes. A law that applies to
serious crimes was adopted after a 2010 referendum.
In a symbolically important document, Parliament decided
to withdraw Switzerland's application for EU membership. The
application was submitted to the then EC in 1992 and was put
into practice already the same year, when the voters in a
referendum said no to the EEA agreement which would have
given Switzerland access to the internal market.
The world's longest and deepest railway tunnel was
inaugurated in June and put into full use in December. The
new subway tunnel under the Sankt Gotthard massif is 57
kilometers long and is 600 meters below the significantly
shorter road tunnel that has existed before. It is
calculated for up to 50 passenger trains and 260 freight
trains per day. The main purpose of the tunnel is to
increase the capacity for freight transport in a corridor
from the Dutch port city of Rotterdam via Basel to the
Italian port city of Genoa.
One woman was killed and five people were seriously
injured when a man poured combustible liquid and caught
fire, and stabbed passengers on a train in northeastern
Switzerland in August. The perpetrator, a 27-year-old Swiss,
also died. According to police, it appeared to be an act of
In September, 65% of voters agreed to have the
authorities intercept phones and monitor e-mails and use
hidden cameras and microphones. Previously, the rules had
been much stricter in Switzerland than in other countries.
In December, Parliament passed a law requiring employers
in some cases to provide services to residents of
Switzerland before applying for workers in the EU. SVP
considered that the law did not adequately follow a decision
on EU immigration quotas taken in a referendum in 2014.