Congratulations on your excellent article "Man on a crusade" (European Business, July 14). It has cast some light on the life and the business of Christoph Blocher, one of the most controversial citizens of Switzerland.
Isn't it ironic that the man who heads one of the most successful Swiss chemical enterprises is also the main opponent to Swiss integration not only into the European Union, but also into the European Economic Area? Switzerland needs to export if it wants to retain its wealth. Integration into Europe would provide easier access to foreign markets. All the major Swiss companies want Switzerland to join the EU; failing that, they will export their jobs to EU countries.
Only Blocher is campaigning against integration, attracting the votes of farmers from central Switzerland who fear losing high prices for dairy products and meat. Blocher seems to work against the interests of his company.
Economic Commission for Europe
Just to keep the record straight and to inform your readers and Mr. Blocher, too: The fund of $5 billion, as proposed by the President of the Swiss Federal Council (Executive Branch), is not intended to pay $5 billion in cash to Holocaust victims, but to set up a fund from which the proceeds will be paid to victims of injustice, crimes, and political persecution, which still exist in our day.
Mr. Blocher is right: An objective look at the history of World War II reveals clearly that few European countries played a more positive role than Switzerland. Our small country resisted the political and military threat from the Nazi superpower by which it was completely surrounded. The Swiss population and thousands of refugees were spared from the horrors of war, destruction, and persecution, and the nation could uphold the ideals of humanity amid a barbaric environment. This outstanding historic success could be achieved only because of our credible policy of neutrality, deep-rooted democratic traditions, moral strength, military preparedness, intelligent diplomacy, and, admittedly, some concessions to the Nazis. We are grateful to our parents' generation for their courage and wisdom and do not understand why we should pay war reparations.
Jurg E. Tenucci