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Old 08.02.2013, 21:49
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More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

The number of non-Swiss living in Switzerland rose slightly in 2012 to 1.825 million, a 3 per cent increase over 2011, the Federal Migration Office reported on Friday. Foreigners continue to make up roughly 20 per cent of the population.

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss_ne...l?cid=34945188
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Old 08.02.2013, 22:02
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

That's just too high of a percentage, for such a small country.

I yearn for the day when I hear a Swiss language being spoken in Aldi or Lidl.
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Old 08.02.2013, 22:05
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

So many expats I know say they left the UK because there were too many foreigners! And yet the % is much smaller for the UK.

In the Dordogne is France, there are whole villages full of expats from the UK who can't speak the language, want to buy English food from English shops and cafés - same in many part of Spain and the Canaries. Most left for France because they wanted to 'escape' the UK - and now ot 'integrating' at all. Having white vans and plumbers, electricians, etc, coming from UK with UK goods and UK workers on the black, ordering all goods, clothes, etc, etc from Tesco or M&S on line for regular deliveries. Oh the irony

Last edited by Odile; 08.02.2013 at 23:05.
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Old 08.02.2013, 22:46
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

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So many expats I know say they left the UK because there were too many foreigners! And yet the % is much smaller for the UK.
Depends what is meant by "foreigner", I guess. There are millions of British citizens in the UK who didn't originate there, or who are first generation British, but still regarded by many Brits as "foreigners".

Interesting stat just a week or two ago that 1 in 8 British citizens were actually born outside the UK.

The percentage of non-Swiss residents might be high but a large number of these (we can only speculate) are just temporary, here for 2 or 3 years on a contract or studying.
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Old 08.02.2013, 23:15
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

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Depends what is meant by "foreigner", I guess. There are millions of British citizens in the UK who didn't originate there, or who are first generation British, but still regarded by many Brits as "foreigners".

Interesting stat just a week or two ago that 1 in 8 British citizens were actually born outside the UK.

The percentage of non-Swiss residents might be high but a large number of these (we can only speculate) are just temporary, here for 2 or 3 years on a contract or studying.
It is hard to say, but in my opinion quite unlikely. The BFS estimates that 51.3% (856700) of all foreigners in Switzerland would be eligible to become Swiss (German, page 44). Which means they are either living in Switzerland for more than 12 years or have a Swiss spouse. As there are several reasons why somebody might not be eligible (e.g. doesn't know the language or it is "only" the 10th year in Switzerland - after all naturalisation in Switzerland is more difficult than in many countries), I think it is save to say that by far biggest part of the foreign population in Switzerland is not only here for 2 or 3 years and is here to stay (thank god).
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Old 09.02.2013, 06:23
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

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In the Dordogne is France, there are whole villages full of expats from the UK who can't speak the language, want to buy English food from English shops and cafés - same in many part of Spain and the Canaries. Most left for France because they wanted to 'escape' the UK - and now ot 'integrating' at all.
I don't understand this Swiss obsession with "integration". Some of the most interesting countries in the world have active immigrant populations that keep their customs and language. Think Chinatown, Little Italy, etc. when you go visit New York or San Francisco, don't you always make a stop there?

The Swiss feel threatened by diversity. In their ideal world, the universe would be full of white, tall, quiet people who iron their socks and wake up at 5:45 a.m. sharp and pee sitting down.

But the world is thankfully far, far, FAR more interesting! The most innovative, vibrant, prosperous countries in the world have welcomed cultures different than theirs. Innovation and progress comes from different and diverse ways of thinking, not from blind conformity.

Goes both ways, of course.
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Old 09.02.2013, 06:36
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

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It is hard to say, but in my opinion quite unlikely. The BFS estimates that 51.3% (856700) of all foreigners in Switzerland would be eligible to become Swiss (German, page 44). Which means they are either living in Switzerland for more than 12 years or have a Swiss spouse. As there are several reasons why somebody might not be eligible (e.g. doesn't know the language or it is "only" the 10th year in Switzerland - after all naturalisation in Switzerland is more difficult than in many countries), I think it is save to say that by far biggest part of the foreign population in Switzerland is not only here for 2 or 3 years and is here to stay (thank god).
That's why it is critical to reform the Swiss Naturalization Law soon, to grant a bigger share of the 48.7% that are not currently eligible but well integrated a chance to become Swiss citizens.

Also important is to have phased integration criteria for permit renewals. I'm sorry, but you should be able to at least order something in a restaurant in the local language after 10 years here; I've met many such long-term expats who can't even put together a simple phrase in either French or German.

Having too many non-integrated non-citizens in a first-class democracy (especially one close to a direct democracy like Switzerland) can become very problematic. The government begins to lose the representation of those living under it.
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Old 09.02.2013, 09:03
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

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The number of non-Swiss living in Switzerland rose slightly in 2012 to 1.825 million, a 3 per cent increase over 2011, the Federal Migration Office reported on Friday. Foreigners continue to make up roughly 20 per cent of the population.

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss_ne...l?cid=34945188
what about a bit of logic ? More immigrants, but the percentage of "foreigners" being the same ? This simply means that there are MORE naturalisations than ever.- We now are in times when lots of Swiss born offsprings of people from the "Balkans" and from Lebanon and Iran become adults, there will be a rather increasing rate of naturalisations.

At the other end, the "baby-boomers" which means the postwar generation born between 1945 and 1965 is now gradually becoming retired (to fade away within the next 50 years) and the post baby-boomer people of Swiss-Native-origin only in existence in restricted numbers, Swiss companies will have to import employees .

There is the famous phrase from Germany Arbeiter wurden bestellt, aber Menschen kamen (workers were ordered, but human beings arrived)
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Old 09.02.2013, 09:06
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

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That's just too high of a percentage, for such a small country.

I yearn for the day when I hear a Swiss language being spoken in Aldi or Lidl.
Here in Zürich, customers in both Aldi and Lidl, to above 40%, speak Swiss German, and among the cashiers (hardly CH-natives) Swiss German is the general language.

You live in Freiburg/Fribourg. In your place, whomever speaks French or German (dialect or standard) speaks a "Swiss language" . So what
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Old 09.02.2013, 09:25
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

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I don't understand this Swiss obsession with "integration". Some of the most interesting countries in the world have active immigrant populations that keep their customs and language. Think Chinatown, Little Italy, etc. when you go visit New York or San Francisco, don't you always make a stop there?
I agree partially. While I agree that a influx of high-qualified people of diverse nationality can be a driving power behind innovativity and culture, it is also not free of conflicts. In some countries there are big conflicts between big ethnic/religious/language groups or regions with different culture (not necessarily because of recent immigration) as in Belgium, Northern Ireland, former Yugoslavia, Turkey, India etc. I think one point to prevent such situations is to avoid parallel societies. I see few good things in it. Even artificially created groups or parallel societies can be a recipe for disaster.

On the other hand in Switzerland the national cohesion works remarkably well across the different regions / language groups and I would like to keep it that way. But this requires at least mutual understanding of mentality / language.

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The Swiss feel threatened by diversity. In their ideal world, the universe would be full of white, tall, quiet people who iron their socks and wake up at 5:45 a.m. sharp and pee sitting down.
Not at all. It is not at all about individuality. It is about:
  • Knowing "the" national language of the part you live in (Not: only speak)
  • Understanding the Swiss culture / mentality / history
  • Understanding the Law
It does not mean you have to love it and it does not mean you have to assimilate, it means you should be able to "navigate" here freely and understand that most thing that happen here are not personal attacks. It is dangerous if people are withdrawing from "the public" into their own group. It is really in the interest of everyone to fulfill these points and in my opinion it should be promoted much stronger (financed and required by law after a certain time living in Switzerland)

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But the world is thankfully far, far, FAR more interesting! The most innovative, vibrant, prosperous countries in the world have welcomed cultures different than theirs. Innovation and progress comes from different and diverse ways of thinking, not from blind conformity.

Goes both ways, of course.
That is one interpretation. At the same time the number of countries with huge problems between different ethnic/religious/language groups and civil wars is skyrocketing.
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Old 09.02.2013, 09:27
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

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I don't understand this Swiss obsession with "integration". Some of the most interesting countries in the world have active immigrant populations that keep their customs and language. Think Chinatown, Little Italy, etc. when you go visit New York or San Francisco, don't you always make a stop there?

The Swiss feel threatened by diversity. In their ideal world, the universe would be full of white, tall, quiet people who iron their socks and wake up at 5:45 a.m. sharp and pee sitting down.

But the world is thankfully far, far, FAR more interesting! The most innovative, vibrant, prosperous countries in the world have welcomed cultures different than theirs. Innovation and progress comes from different and diverse ways of thinking, not from blind conformity.

Goes both ways, of course.
> I don't understand the obsession of you and many others on EF about "Swiss obsession with integration". As it does not exist
> You can find "active immigrant populations who keep their customs and language" in places like Zürich and Basel. And those communities are culturally quite important
> Diversity is exactly what makes Switzerland what it is. Quite in contrast with neighbour countries who clearly refuse diversity as they have a one country, one language, one culture self-identification
> Most Swiss at least accept and at best welcome cultures different from what already is around. And few feel threatened
> white tall quiet ? that Swiss people by average are relatively quiet may be, and that a clear overall majority is "white" to some extent also is self evident. But during 1000 years (rethorics-wise) Switzerland did everything possible to keep those TALL chaps out. And some people here still DIStrust those tall chaps
> Britain as an example. YES there are some multi-cultural metropolitan cities, but go to Canterbury, Brighton, Salisbury, Exeter, Plymouth, Bristol, Newcastle etc and you can see that there is not so much about multi-culturalism in evidence really. Everybody speaks English, eats the same fish+chips, etc
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Old 09.02.2013, 11:24
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

1. the number of "foreigners" in the typical statistics is a misnomer, since more than half of those "foreigners" have lived in the country for several years and, in many cases, multiple generations.

2. there is, or at least should be, much more to "integration" than just language. even then, folks need to keep in mind that the country has 4 official languages, none of which is Swiss German. if you want to hear Züridütsch at the Aldi in Wädenswil, then teach it as an official language instead of German. also, stop complaining about the "horrible accents" that native German speakers have when trying to speak Swiss German.

3. one thing that absolutely drives me nuts are complaints about Amis or native English speakers. we Amis represent considerably less than 1% of the total population living within the country, so you can safely assume that there are not enough of us to take over the country.

4. if you are pissed off about the number of foreigners living in your country, contact your local government officials and make your complaint known to the people who set the current policies. you might also consider starting your own forum (perhaps eidgenoss.ch is available), where you can discuss the dangers of foreigners in one of the 4 official languages instead of English.

apologies for the rant, but these threads about "foreigners" are stale and candidly misplaced on the EF.
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Old 09.02.2013, 11:30
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

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At the same time the number of countries with huge problems between different ethnic/religious/language groups and civil wars is skyrocketing.
this statement is not factually accurate, and the undercurrent in it represents the absolute worst of the thinking in many central European countries.
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Old 09.02.2013, 11:42
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

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this statement is not factually accurate,
Why is it not correct? It can certainly be debated, but it is hard to argue that there are at the moment quite a lot of conflicts going. Just saying it is "not factually accurate" is very annoying and dull. The Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research on this matter: Record number of wars in 2011.

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and the undercurrent in it represents the absolute worst of the thinking in many central European countries.
What undercurrent? And what has it to do with central Europe?
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Old 09.02.2013, 11:54
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

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Why is it not correct? It can certainly be debated, but it is hard to argue that there are at the moment quite a lot of conflicts going. Just saying it is "not factually accurate" is very annoying and dull. The Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research on this matter: Record number of wars in 2011.

What undercurrent? And what has it to do with central Europe?
you posted that the record number of conflicts was a result of differences between ethnic / religious groups and / or people speaking different languages. are you honestly trying to draw a comparison between foreigners in Switzerland and the thousand years long conflicts in the middle east or Africa? such a comparison, btw, being the undercurrent in the statement I quoted, and being identical to the incredibly shortsighted and ugly thinking that is all the rage in places such as Denmark and Belgium.
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Old 09.02.2013, 12:13
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

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you posted that the record number of conflicts was a result of differences between ethnic / religious groups and / or people speaking different languages
Honestly are you trying to misunderstand me or is it a real communication problem?! I did not say it is the differences, it is the unwillingness to understand each others needs and make compromises.

I was talking about Switzerland as a positive example where different language and religious groups lived in peace for quite a long time and that Switzerland has to find a way to keep it that way with changing demographics.

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are you honestly trying to draw a comparison between foreigners in Switzerland and the thousand years long conflicts in the middle east or Africa?
Belgium, India, former Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland will be delighted to be located in the middle east and Africa. Let's make it 100 thousand years, it becomes even more intelligent statement then.

I did not compare the situation, I tried to make example of extreme cases where parallel societies and a lack of understanding between groups leads to serious problems.
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such a comparison, btw, being the undercurrent in the statement I quoted, and being identical to the incredibly shortsighted and ugly thinking that is all the rage in places such as Denmark and Belgium.
I completely lost you here. I do not promote any wars or social unrest, I am just in favor of integration to improve social cohesion while maintaining the cultural individuality of each group and person. Can you please elaborate how this is ugly thinking?
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Old 09.02.2013, 12:34
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

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Honestly are you trying to misunderstand me or is it a real communication problem?! I did not say it is the differences, it is the unwillingness to understand each others needs and make compromises.
red_conundrum posted a statement about the virtues of differences and diversity, which you then quoted before posting the statement that I quoted from you above. all of this, btw, in a thread about foreigners in Switzerland.



this is the second thread where we have had this communication problem (both on the same issue, which seems to be a particular favorite or yours), despite the fact that my living depends upon my ability to read, comprehend and communicate in English. note that I said English, btw - although I am able to generally navigate daily life in Switzerland in either high or Swiss German, my reading, comprehension and communication skills mysteriously disappear in those languages.



if you have concerns about the number of foreigners in Switzerland, or about the extent to which those foreigners are (or are not) "integrating", again I implore you to contact your local government officials and push for a change in the current policies. there is also no shortage of political parties or activist groups in the country where you will find like-minded compatriots, and where you can combine your collective weight to push for meaningful reform. Amis like me can then go back to reading complaints about the lack of bbq sauce, brown sugar, available shopping on Sundays, etc.
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Old 09.02.2013, 12:59
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

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red_conundrum posted a statement about the virtues of differences and diversity, which you then quoted before posting the statement that I quoted from you above. all of this, btw, in a thread about foreigners in Switzerland.

I know exactly what you, red_conundrum and I wrote. I know that it is a thread about foreigners and I know that red_conundrum posted about the "virtues of differences and diversity" as you eloquently put it, but I am not sure if you really read my reply. You quoted one sentence out of context and started to go on about "ugly thinking" without ever stating what exactly you meant with this or how it was related to me. While I actually agreed to red_conundrum for the most part.

I am starting to have real self-doubt here, because while I am perfectly aware that my English is not that of a native speaker, I was always pretty sure that people could extract the line of thought out of my sentences. So to make it clear: I am in favor of multiculturalism, but against parallel societies as there are examples in history where the later went very wrong. I do not state that there is a very bad situation in Switzerland now or that it necessarily goes in that direction.

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this is the second thread where we have had this communication problem (both on the same issue, which seems to be a particular favorite or yours), despite the fact that my living depends upon my ability to read, comprehend and communicate in English. note that I said English, btw
That is the shocking thing: Mine as well. Lucky that we did not meet professionally yet, eh?

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- although I am able to generally navigate daily life in Switzerland in either high or Swiss German, my reading, comprehension and communication skills mysteriously disappear in those languages.

While I appreciate it when people living in Switzerland learn the local language, you do not need to explain yourself here. It would be fine if this was not the case. I also don't feel any animosities against people who do not know a local language, it is just that in my opinion, from an abstract, political point of view it is bad for society if it divides itself according to clear lines into separate groups that do not approve of each other. Nothing really bad has happened in this regard so far in Switzerland, but I think integration (not assimilation) should be promoted by the government.

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if you have concerns about the number of foreigners in Switzerland
I have no concerns about the number of foreigners in Switzerland.

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or about the extent to which those foreigners are (or are not) "integrating", again I implore you to contact your local government officials and push for a change in the current policies.
I am politically active and one part of it is discussing the topic with people interested in the topic. Which is clearly the case in this thread and the reason I am discussing it here. Obviously discussion is very important in the political process.


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there is also no shortage of political parties or activist groups in the country where you will find like-minded compatriots, and where you can combine your collective weight to push for meaningful reform.
I am aware of that.


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Amis like me can then go back to reading complaints about the lack of bbq sauce, brown sugar, available shopping on Sundays, etc.
Don't forget the lack of customer service!
Ah Cablecom, how I loathe you!!!
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Old 09.02.2013, 13:22
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

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2.here is, or at least should be, much more to "integration" than just language. even then, folks need to keep in mind that the country has 4 official languages, none of which is Swiss German. if you want to hear Züridütsch at the Aldi in Wädenswil, then teach it as an official language instead of German. also, stop complaining about the "horrible accents" that native German speakers have when trying to speak Swiss German.
But German is a Swiss language. If you want to work in any job in German speaking Switzerland, that isn't in English, (expect some unqualified manual labour) its absolutly required to speak standard German. Of course it's nice if you are able to speak/understand the Alemanic dialects spoken in Switzerland (aka Swiss German), but it's easily possible to get by without this ability. If you don't speak standard German on the other side it will be impossible to find a job (if it doesn't have English as a working language).

If English speaking expats claim that it would be better if Swiss German were taught instead of standard German, they fail to realise, that for most immigrants proficency in standard Germa is much more important than proficiency in Swiss German.

Besides, the allemanic dialect (spoken in southern Baden-Würthenberg and Switzerland) is rather close to standard German. That is one of the main reasons why Swiss German was not displaced by standard German, as in northern Germany, where today the dialect ("Platt") is considered to be an own language.
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Old 09.02.2013, 13:26
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Re: More foreigners and fewer naturalisations in CH

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Why is it not correct? It can certainly be debated, but it is hard to argue that there are at the moment quite a lot of conflicts going. Just saying it is "not factually accurate" is very annoying and dull. The Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research on this matter: Record number of wars in 2011.

There have been lots of such conflicts since 1945. They were NOT increasing. BUT
A) between 1955 and 1972 lots of former colonies became independent, often on the basis of crazy borders drawn in London and Paris and New York by people who hardly ever were in another quarter of their own city. And the realities of the new countries brought up to light local conflicts which before 1955 just were conflicts in the colonies
B) after the end of the Eastern Block, lots of regional conflicts broke up which before were put under pressure as in pressure cooker and then out of a sudden erupted. In Western Europe, lots of regional "differences" kept below during the cold war suddenly became important or important again

C) your statement was not just "factually not correct", it only just was wrong
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