These are just some of the questions Switzerland is puzzling over after a 25-year-old failed the notoriously tough Swiss citizenship requirements – even though she has lived in the country all her life, speaks fluently in the local dialect and had passed the written part of the exam with full marks.
Well, OK, maybe not entirely fair but this is indeed what localism means:
Since the case emerged, there have been several calls for a reform of the naturalisation process, which is decided by municipal juries comprised of local residents rather than a centralised agency. “The arbitrary nature of the official process has rarely been so visibly on display,” wrote the Tagesanzeiger newspaper.
Given the cantonal and intensely local nature of the country why shouldn’t locals get to decide who becomes, legally, a local?
In February, Switzerland voted to make it easier for third-generation immigrants to become citizens, rejecting the complaints of rightwing politicians that the proposed measures would pose a security risk.
Restrictions on third generation? Wow!
And in May 2016, a Kosovan family who were long-term residents of the canton of Basel-Country had their application for citizenship opposed by the residents’ committee, in part because they wore jogging bottoms around town.
Now that is fair and it’s not even harsh.