An electoral poster opposing the "Stop Mass Immigration" referendum Getty Images

The result of the Swiss referendum - narrowly approving restrictions on free movement of people from the European Union – presents a big dilemma for the administrations in both Bern and Brussels. The Swiss now have the massive headache of trying to renegotiate their painstakingly constructed deals with the EU – a large and angry partner. The EU has to decide how to strike the balance between indulgence and punishment, in responding to the Swiss.

Having just listened to the vice-president of the European Commission, Viviane Reding, speaking on the radio, it seems likely to me that the EU will take the punitive route. But that, I think, would be a mistake. Read more

By Toby Luckhurst

 Read more

♦ Serbia plans to borrow billions from the United Arab Emirates – the country’s deputy prime minister warned that it could face bankruptcy without urgent steps to cut public sector wages.
♦ The Washington Post breaks down the effect of the US government shut down on individual departments.
♦ Ezra Klein at the Washington Post argues that “the American political system is being torn apart by deep structural changes that don’t look likely to reverse themselves anytime soon” and a “deal to reopen the government won’t fix what ails American politics.”
♦ Slate reports on how the Egyptian army is stepping up its efforts to shut down the illicit trade tunnels between Sinai and Gaza. Its campaign in north Sinai is affecting both civilians and militants.
♦ Bashar al-Assad’s regime is waging a PR campaign, spreading stories of rebels engaging in “sex jihad” and massacring Christians, according to Der Spiegel.
♦ British artist Banksy’s latest work, which focuses on Syria, has Syria-watchers bemused, the New York Times reports.
♦ The latest book from Paul Collier, co-director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University, examines the impact of migration and the benefits of it to migrants, host communities and those left behind. Read more