Frédéric Jolien Switzerland

Frédéric Jolien

SFL Europe

Former student leader leading a grassroots campaign in Switzerland

Frédéric Jolien, a Students For Liberty alumnus, has been fighting against the television tax in Switzerland and his efforts have culminated in the biggest crowdfunding campaign in the history of Switzerland.

There is currently a “television tax” in Switzerland, an updated version of which passed in 2015 by 50.1% of the vote, or a mere 3,000 people. The new measure is written into the Swiss constitution and taxes the internet (because people can access radio and television from their internet browsers) as well as making the tax rate lower on home owners and higher on businesses. This has ended up with businesses transferring the extra cost to the consumers so the end user isn’t actually paying less.

95% of the money from the television tax goes to National TV and Radio in Switzerland. As Frédéric told me, “they are swimming in money.” National TV has the biggest buildings in Zurich and Geneva. Frédéric is spearheading the effort to repeal the television tax through a grassroots campaign. “We have no help from any of the big lobbies. We do have help from young classical liberals and from one of the parties, but not all the parties.”

Frédéric was the individual who originally initiated Students For Liberty in Switzerland. One of his proudest accomplishments as a student leader has been hosting an organ donation debate. Today, he claims SFL helped him remain sane and that through his time with the organization, he made many valuable contacts and had many valuable discussions where he was able to learn about what’s happening in other countries.

Switzerland is often thought of as one of the most pro-liberty countries but Frédéric made sure to point out that there is still lots of work to be done. “It’s better in Switzerland – I get it. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop fighting.”

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