In Geneva airport they’ve had a “Swiss/EU/UK” line at passport control for a long time, even before our act of self harm in 2016. Yesterday evening I noticed the UK flag had been taped over.
I have heard it said that the Swiss used to highlight the UK like this because UK visitors kept going into the wrong line and queueing with other passports. I assumed this was because many of us didn’t automatically identify as EU citizens. Subsequent events seem to back that up.
In fact, judging by their widely shared holiday snaps, so many of the Brexit commentariat seem to ski frictionlessly around here that maybe they have been going into the non-EU line as a political statement. The unnecessary delay would be a minor sacrifice, their personal share of the wider devastation they are inflicting on us all.
I presume the UK flag disappeared under masking tape in anticipation of “no deal suckers, go the slow line” tomorrow, now postponed at least. Or maybe they decided we have now all become aware enough of our EU membership that we know where we belong.
Footnote: In case you still don’t know – Switzerland is in the Schengen common visa zone but not the customs union, so people can pass freely but goods cannot. At time of writing, UK benefits from the inverse, in that we do control people in and out because we’re not in Schengen, but we allow goods to pass because we’re in the customs union (and single market, as part of the EU).
Switzerland is also part of the Common Market, that means that a EU citizen with a job or independent wealth has the right to get residency here (notice that freedom of movement does not mean that any pauper or unemployed can settle and steal benefits, as it has been wrongly said many times). This skilled and unskilled labour has greatly contributed to the wealth of the country, as it idid to the one in the UK, as every serious study demonstrates.
Being outside of the custom union is a choice to protect the Swiss farmers from cheaper imports, while in all other sectors Switzerland is aligned to EU standards.
Switzerland is an example of a country that prospers being outside of the EU, while being strongly anchored in the EU economic institutions. I remember prominent brexiteers who are now advocating no deal out of desperation, to cite Switzerland and Norway as examples of countries that can prosper outside of the EU, failing to explain that the reality of these countries would correspond to a super-soft brexit.