Left Menu
Development News Edition

Swiss voters clearly reject curbs on EU immigration

Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected on Sunday a right-wing party's attempt to scrap a pact allowing the free movement of people from the European Union, opting for stability amid the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Reuters | Zurich | Updated: 27-09-2020 21:51 IST | Created: 27-09-2020 21:46 IST
Swiss voters clearly reject curbs on EU immigration
Representative image Image Credit: Wikimedia

Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected on Sunday a right-wing party's attempt to scrap a pact allowing the free movement of people from the European Union, opting for stability amid the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Swiss People's Party (SVP) had forced a referendum on the EU agreement in a bid to curb immigration to the country where foreigners make up a quarter of the population.

The measure lost, as expected, by a 62%-38% margin. "The bilateral path is the right one for Switzerland and for the EU. The Swiss people have confirmed this path again today," Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter told reporters in Bern.

"Today is a great day for the relations between the European Union and Switzerland," European Council President Charles Michel tweeted. "The Swiss people have spoken & sent a clear message: together we have a great future ahead of us." The SVP - the biggest party in parliament - has long pushed to take back control of immigration, echoing some arguments pro-Brexit politicians used in the run-up to Britain's exit from the EU. It won a referendum on the issue in 2014, only to see parliament water down its implementation.

Opponents said the plan would have robbed business of skilled workers and torpedoed accords that enhance non-EU member Switzerland's access to the crucial EU single market. Around two-thirds of the 2.1 million foreigners living in Switzerland in 2019 were citizens of the EU, as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, which with Switzerland are members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

More than 450,000 Swiss live in the EU. The domestic political battle immediately turned to Switzerland's biggest foreign policy headache: a stalled treaty meant to cement ties with the EU but which critics say infringes too much on Swiss sovereignty and would never win a referendum.

With questions open over state aid, rules to protect high Swiss wages, and access to welfare benefits, the Swiss have dragged their feet while trying to forge a domestic consensus, triggering a row over cross-border stock trading. "The government will determine Switzerland's position in the coming weeks and take up discussions with the EU over the issues that remain open," Keller-Sutter said.

Voters also blocked an attempt to make it easier to shoot wolves deemed a threat to livestock. They narrowly approved the government's plans to buy new fighter jets for up to 6 billion Swiss francs ($6.46 billion).


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

New farm bills in India: Focusing on farms or farmers?

... ...

Kenya’s COVID-19 response: Chaos amid lack of information

Confusing numbers and scanty information on how effective curfews and lockdowns have been in breaking transmission have amplified coordination and planning challenges in Kenyas response to COVID-19. Without accurate data, it is impossible t...

Farkhad Akhmedov: Calculating the price of impunity from the law

In insistences such as the battle over the Luna, Akhmedov has resorted to extreme legal machinations to subvert the High Courts decision and keep his assets from being seized. ...

Guinea’s elections hearken back to the autocracy and violence of its past

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Delhi riots: Court dismisses bail plea of man in IB official's murder case

A Delhi court Thursday dismissed the bail plea of a man arrested in connection with the murder of Intelligence Bureau IB official Ankit Sharma during the communal violence in north-east Delhi in February. Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yad...

U'khand: In-principle approval of over Rs 262 cr fund to reduce man-animal conflict

The Centre on Thursday agreed in-principle to sanction an additional fund of Rs 262.49 crore to Uttarakhand to reduce man-animal conflict, minimise forest fires and generate employment for migrants who returned to the state following the CO...

Britain confirms details of visa offer for some Hong Kong citizens

Britain confirmed details of its route to citizenship for almost three million people in Hong Kong, saying in a statement that there would be no quota on numbers and that a five-year visa would cost 250 pounds330 per person.Britain made the...

Ballia firing: UP police takes custody of BJP leader Dhirendra Singh

The police on Thursday took custody of BJP leader Dhirendra Pratap Singh who was arrested for allegedly shooting dead a man in Durjanpur village of the district during the allotment of a ration shop. A Ballia court had on Wednesday remanded...

Give Feedback