On Sunday, Swiss citizens voted with a clear majority for their country to participate more in the European border protection agency Frontex.

At the same time, they prevented the feared exclusion of the Confederation from the Schengen area.

In another vote, the Swiss voted for the introduction of an extended objection solution for organ donations.

According to this, in the future every citizen will be available as a potential organ donor after his brain death, provided he has not explicitly spoken out against organ removal during his lifetime and his surviving dependents do not object.

John Knight

Correspondent for politics and economy in Switzerland.

  • Follow I follow

As a member of the Schengen area, Switzerland must make a contribution to protecting the external borders of the group of countries.

After the EU decision to significantly strengthen Frontex, the Confederates are contractually obliged to triple their annual contribution to CHF 61 million by 2027 and to second 40 employees instead of just six from now on.

According to projections, 72 percent of the Swiss voted in favor of the corresponding decision by the government and parliament on Sunday.

Switzerland benefits from Dublin rules

The high level of approval is likely to have something to do with the Ukraine war.

Putin's attack also showed the Swiss how important it is for Europe to stand shoulder to shoulder when it comes to border protection.

In addition to the liberal FDP, the Christian Democratic Center Party and the Green Liberals (GLP), the national conservative Swiss People's Party (SVP) had also spoken out in favor of increased Frontex commitment.

In this case, this party, which has by far the most voters, has shelved its deep-seated anti-Europe reflex for reasons of security and migration policy.

Without a yes to Frontex, there would have been a threat of exclusion not only from the Schengen area, but also from the legally associated Dublin agreement, which would probably have significantly increased the number of asylum seekers in Switzerland.

As a landlocked country, the Confederation benefits from the Dublin rules, according to which the state in which a refugee first registered is responsible for them.

The director of the economic umbrella organization Economiesuisse, Monika Rühl, rated the clear yes of the people as an "important signal for further cooperation in Europe".

The government must now quickly find solutions to get relations with the EU out of the impasse, said Rühl with a view to the broken relationship between Bern and Brussels.

The Swiss government unilaterally broke off negotiations with the EU Commission on a framework agreement a year ago.

Parts of the Swiss economy are already suffering from this because existing market access agreements are no longer updated.

Access to the large EU research program “Horizon Europe”, which has meanwhile been severely restricted, is giving universities a hard time.

Amendment of the Transplantation Act

According to projections, 59 percent of the Swiss voted for the amendment to the transplantation law.

Switzerland is thus saying goodbye to the rule that also applies in Germany, according to which organs may only be removed after death from people who have previously filled out a corresponding donor card.

After the decision to change to the opt-out solution, the situation is reversed: anyone who does not want to donate their organs such as heart, liver, lungs and kidneys must enter this in a register during their lifetime.

However, the Swiss legislature leaves a back door open to relatives by extending the opt-out solution.

They can refuse an organ removal if they know or suspect that the person concerned would decide against it.

If the doctors, unaware of the willingness to donate, cannot reach a relative, they are not allowed to remove any organs.