Swiss ‘Service Public’ vote: Citizens turn down populist initiative to discontinue licensing fees to finance public radio and TV stations

Swiss voters voted against the discontinuation of radio and television licensing fees the weekend of 3 to 5 March 2018.

If they had voted YES to the discontinuation of radio and TV licensing fees as from 2019, the public radio and TV station, as well as 21 local radio stations and 13 regional TV broadcasters who all benefit from the fees collected, would have had to close down.

This vote was the result of a popular initiative called “No-Billag” launched by right-wing supporters.

CESI’s Swiss trade union, the ZV Öffentliches Personal Schweiz, actively fought against this popular initiative, viewing it as an attack against public services in Switzerland.

71.6 % of Swiss voters voted NO to this popular initiative, crushing it. This was a hefty defeat for the opponents of public services.

Another Swiss popular vote concerned the new Financial Regulation of 2021. This Financial Regulation 2021 aims to allow the Federal Government to continue collecting the direct Federal Tax and VAT (approx. CHF 43 billion). Swiss voters clearly voted YES to this Financial Regulation, with 84.1% of the votes.


  • The Swiss population clearly supports and defends public services.
  • Swiss citizens do not want to downsize public services; instead, they want a high-quality, well-established ‘Service Public’.
  • A high-quality ‘Service Public’ must be properly financed. The Swiss are prepared to contribute financially to this effect.
  • The population clearly wants to fight against the trend to downsize public enterprises and privatise them.

Let us hope that the Swiss population’s clear position in defence of public services has a positive impact on Europe as a whole.

Logo: Logo ‘Non to No-Billag’ © 2018