This is because one prominent eurosceptic in Switzerland claimed that the UK would get a much better deal than Bern gained after decades of tense exchanges. Christoph Blocher, the Swiss former MP who led the charge to keep Switzerland out of the EU in 1992, said that Project Fear was deployed in that referendum, too. One politician predicted at the time that if it didn’t join, within five years it would be begging to do so “on its knees”.
In fact, those predictions never came to pass as “the Monday after the Sunday, the Bourse rose,” Mr Blocher recalled at the time.
As The Spectator recalled in 2016, he agreed that Britain would not get the same deal as the Swiss post-Brexit, but said: “No, you’d get a much better deal.
“I think if you [Britain] leave the EU it will be very good for you.”
In 1992, Switzerland began its application to join the EU.
However, that same year, Switzerland had a referendum on whether to join the European Economic Area (EEA) where the country narrowly decided to reject the idea.
The result sent shockwaves through Europe, as 50.3 percent voted against the idea of joining the EEA, leaving the EU’s hopes of expansion dashed.
Not only did the Swiss public reject the EEA, but it also meant the country’s application for the EU was suspended.
Rene Felber, then the President of the Federal Council in Bern, said at the time: “This ordeal provoked the Swiss Government to suspend the application for EU membership.
“Switzerland has renounced the many political and economic opportunities opened up by the European Economic Area.
They said they had not expected such a low “yes” vote.
Fifteen years later, the EU’s plans were finally dashed.
Not only did the UK vote for Brexit in June 2016, but a week before this politicians in Switzerland voted to withdraw the country’s application for membership of the EU.
Just as Mr Blocher’s prediction offered promise for the UK, analysis by Swiss politics expert – Dieter Freiburghaus – contradicts the EU’s message that the UK “can’t have its cake and eat it” in trade talks.
He told the BBC in February 2016: “Switzerland was only interested in the economic aspect of European integration, and that we got: we got access to the internal market.
So our economy had a lot of gains. We have the cake and we eat it… at the moment.”