Switzerland to close three border crossings at night

Italian mayors protest unilateral move.

Italian media report that three border crossings between Lombardy and Switzerland will be closed at night by Swiss authorities in a unilateral move “without warning”.

Starting Saturday 1 April, the crossing points at Pedrinate, Novazzano-Marcetto and Ponte Cremenaga in Como and Varese provinces will be closed and barred from 23.00 to 05.00 “to stop Italian thieves from crossing into Switzerland.”

The barriers have already been erected ready for use and signposting has been put in place.

It appears that the original plan was to close as many as 16, but the administration of Switzerland's Ticino canton has now decided to close only these three for a six-month experimental period. The objective as declared by the Swiss authorities is to clamp down on “thefts in the canton carried out by Italians or by persons coming from Italy.”

Mayors of the Italian municipalities affected by the measure protest that “it is a unilateral decision which damages us and doesn’t resolve the problem of criminality,” reports authoritative Milan-based national daily Corriere della Sera.

“Closing the frontier will penalise honest citizens such as frontalieri [people who cross to work in another country] or whoever wants to travel freely,” Cristian Tolettini, mayor of Colverde, told Corriere. He suggests there are better ways to combat criminality, like the video cameras his municipality has installed “at considerable expense” for 24-hour surveillance of the border area.

Lombardy regional councillor Luca Gaffuri told the daily that he raised “strong protest” over the unilateral measure in a meeting between the council and Swiss authorities this week.

Over 60,000 Italian frontalieri cross into Switzerland daily, while the number of Swiss workers crossing in the opposite direction is only a few hundred.