The Swiss have voted today to give a billion Swiss Francs to the ten new EU members. That amounts to around 630 million euros. In a referendum, just over 53 percent of the electorate voted in favour of the voluntary contribution. Turnout was low at around 45 percent.
Although Switzerland itself is not part of the EU, it still benefits indirectly from the development of member states.
The result will be a relief to the government after a late surge by the ‘No’ camp. The biggest recipient will be Poland with just under half the total amount of aid.
The money will be paid over 10 years from existing programmes, meaning there will be no extra cost to the tax-payer. Another non-member, Norway, has already pledged a billion euros over the same period.