Switzerland will vote to fund Frontex and impose a flow tax

FILE PHOTO: Screens reading “No to buying media. On February 13, there is no media law” in German ahead of a Swiss referendum on media legislation at Zurich’s central train station, Switzerland, on February 10, 2022. REUTERS/Arnd Wegmann

Written by Michael Shields

ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss voters decided on Sunday whether global video streaming services should support Swiss filmmakers and pay more money to European border security agency Frontex in a referendum that will test the country’s ties with the European Union.

In a binding referendum on the so-called ‘Lex Netflix’, voters will say whether the international online streaming services should invest 4% of its Swiss revenue in local film production, as they are doing now. In addition, 30% of the content of streaming services must consist of films or series produced in Europe.

Opponents say the law – backed by the Swiss government and parliament – could reduce the supply of global content and force streaming services to raise prices.

“We have the utmost respect for the democratic decision of the Swiss people, and we will wait for the result of the referendum,” a Netflix spokesperson said, adding that the US company was not involved in the referendum request.

On the other hand, if voters approve an increase in Switzerland’s contribution of money and staff to expand Frontex, Swiss citizens will pay 61 million Swiss francs ($61.5 million) annually in 2027, up from 24 million in 2021, according to government estimates. .

But if opponents – who accuse Frontex of human rights abuses in its treatment of refugees – can get their way, there could be more than just financial consequences.

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If this move fails, Switzerland could be forced to leave the 26-member Schengen passport free-of-movement zone and the Dublin system for coordinating asylum claims.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson told the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper.

A gfs.bern poll for SRF showed 69% in favor of financing Frontex, compared to 25% against. The Stream Law has 56% support for it, 41% against.

The poll included 6,315 Swiss voters, with a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.

Voters will also decide, under the Swiss system of direct democracy, whether to facilitate the acquisition of organs for transplantation, a measure that is also expected to pass.

(1 dollar = 0.9921 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing: Ed Osmond; Translated by Dario Fernandez)

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