Happy National Swiss Day! Today the Swiss celebrate over 700 years of political independence from the European despots. But as one of the most successful countries in Europe they have a great deal more to celebrate by avoiding membership of the European Union.
As one of the few countries which have successfully resisted the political European project, Switzerland has the best of both worlds with their longstanding free trade agreement with the EU. The Swiss have access to the European Single Market whilst also safeguarding their national sovereignty from the expansionist grip of Brussels.
More crucially, the Swiss can trade with the EU whilst also negotiating their own global free trade agreements, from China to Chile. Currently Switzerland has free trade agreements with countries which consist of 54% of world Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is hugely more than the EU equivalent of 30%.
We are so often told by the political establishment a country needs to be in a trading block to project its influence in trade deals more effectively. Yet the Swiss punch far above their economic weight, with Switzerland consisting of less than 1% of world GDP. This is because they are not mired in Brussels bureaucracy and can arrange their free trade agreements much in half the time it takes the EU.
This is hardly a surprising statistic when you consider the Swiss took three and a half years to confirm a trade agreement with China, one of the largest economies in the world. Meanwhile, the EU’s own Chinese deal has been in negotiation since 2005 with absolutely nothing agreed so far!
Switzerland is a shining example of just how bright the future of an independent Britain can be. It is a country which values national sovereignty and democratically elected bodies making their own laws just as much as Britain can do once we are free of the shackles of EU membership.
No longer hamstrung by the bloated Brussels bureaucracy Britain can reclaim its place on the world stage as the leading advocate for free trade. A Brexit would boost our economy at the same time as escaping the endless slide towards political union. The Swiss model shows the economic arguments are clear: we must Get Britain Out of the European Union as soon as possible.