A federal initiative for basic income in Switzerland has achieved to collect more than 125,000 signautres, hence opening the doors to a referendum in the coming years.
These are interesting times in Switzerland and promising developments for the on-going collection of European citizen’s initiative. There is to be a referendum – the timing of which has yet to be decided – on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults. The amount would be a monthly amount of 2500 Swiss Francs ($2800). Even taking into account the high cost of living in Switzerland that is no small potatoes but seems a genuinely substantial amount aimed at providing a financial safety net for all its citizens.
Switzerland is famous for its civic participation and referenda and events surrounding this vote have been especially exciting. Last Friday, Grassroot organizers managed to obtain more than the 100,000 signatures needed to call a referendum. As part of the event a truckload of 8 million five-rappen coins was dumped outside the parliament building in Berne, one for each person living in Switzerland.
While the tricky problem of elections and democracy cannot be overlooked, this could be an enormously significant moment for all of us who are advocating for a European Basic Income. As Enno Schmidt,the founder of the Basic Income Initiative put it, “It could be one of the landmark historical moments, like the abolition of slavery, or the civil rights movement — of course, those who don’t want it will find excuses, but those who do want it will find solutions”.