Oddly enough, living in France near the Swiss border has more disadvantages than advantages. At first I thought it would be nice to be close to another country that isn’t even in the EU. Geneva’s international airport has served me well over the years, but I’ve got to say that I’ve never actually spent time in Geneva other than to go to the airport or to catch a train to Germany. Don’t get me wrong, I do love Switzerland, but it’s just too expensive and the trains between France and Switzerland aren’t all that convenient.
The main reason I don’t like being close to the border is the higher cost of living. So many people in Annecy and Annemasse commute to Geneva everyday for work and they earn twice as much money as people who are doing the same job in France. Property prices in Haute-Savoie have skyrocketed because of this, though they are still below the average prices in Geneva. Our taxe d’habitation even increased 100€ in one year because the taxes in and around Annecy went up so much. If Annecy is awarded the 2018 Winter Olympics, I hate to think how much more expensive it will become.
Now that we live in Chambéry, prices are slightly better because we’re further from the border. But I still hear complaints from French people who work in Switzerland that “all Swiss people hate the French.” How is complaining that a nationality is racist towards you NOT also racist towards them?? I get sick of hearing these rich people complain about their working conditions. If you don’t like working in Switzerland, then don’t do it. But then they’d have to earn a typical French salary like everyone else in the country, and that would be horrible! After earning 3000-4000€ a month, how could they ever go back to a measly 1500€?
The extreme right political party in Switzerland, which has already been trying to ban the building of minarets, is now attacking French workers in Geneva. They call them “racaille” and even “criminels étrangers” in their latest newspaper ads in response to the CEVA project to start train service between Geneva and Annemasse to make it easier for commuters to get to and from work. I understand that they’re mad about the high unemployment in the Geneva area, but calling French people scum?? Come on. How about you just give out fewer work permits to French people?
I wonder if tensions are as high in other bordering countries. I can’t imagine so since almost all of the other countries are EU and therefore must allow French people to work there. There is no debate about work permits. None of them offer much higher salaries like Switzerland either. And of course, the language barrier probably prevents many French people from working in Germany or Italy or Spain… But what about Belgium? Are salaries higher there? Do a lot of people in Lille commute to Belgium to work?