By James Rothwell
30 MAY 2016 • 10:38AM
30 MAY 2016 • 10:38AM
One of Europe's wealthiest villages has decided to pay a £200,000 fine instead of accepting around 10 refugees under its country's newly imposed quota.
Residents in the picturesque Swiss village of Oberwil-Lieli said they voted 'no' in a referendum on whether to accept the refugees because "they wouldn't fit in."
It comes after the Swiss government announced a quota system to meet its promise of allowing 50,000 asylum seekers into the country.
By rejecting the government's plans, the village - which counts 300 millionaires among its population of 22,000 - has sent shockwaves across the country, with some accusing the residents of racism.
The villagers must now fork out 290,000 Swiss francs (£200,000) as a forfeit for refusing to welcome the asylum seekers.
One of them, who asked not to be named, told the MailOnline: "We do not want them here, it is as simple as that.
"We have worked hard all our lives and have a lovely village that we do not want spoiled."
They added: "We are not suited to take in refugees, they would not fit in here."
But another resident, a mother-of-two who asked not to be identified, said it was regrettable that the row has led to claims the village is selfish and racist.
"It is only right that we do something to help others who are less fortunate," she said.
"It makes the village look like we all do not care what happens to others and only look after ourselves. That is not how it is."
Andreas Glarner, the town's right-wing mayor, denies the vote was motivated by racism and said the town rejected the quota because it was not told whether the refugees were Syrians or "economic migrants from other countries."
"Yes, the refugees from Syria have to be helped and they are better served by being helped in the camps nearer their home," he said.
"Money could be sent to help them, but if we are housing them here it sends out the wrong message.
"Others will come and risk their lives crossing the ocean and paying people smugglers to bring them."
I say, good for them! It's about time local governments stood up to national government bullies and just said NO!
I completely understand them. They have a good way of life, and they don't want it contaminated by other ways and cultures. I feel the same way about my home town in New Hampshire. It's low non-White, low foreigner. and I hope it can stay that way for as long as possible.
In fairness however, I should point out that this decision is as much racially motivated (despite what Mayor Glarner says) as it is financially motivated. They don't want a lot of poor people moving to their town. Sure it's only ten - for now. As soon as those refugees get settled, they'll start sending for the rest of their relatives - uncles, aunts, cousins, and so forth. Ten can very quickly grow to 110. And more after that.
I really hope this village stands tough and doesn't buckle under to pressure from the European Union.